Ex-police officer Declan Jones who was jailed for attacking two people 'killed himself'

Former police officer Declan Jones who was jailed for assaulting two Birmingham residents took his own life, an inquest has ruled.

Mr Jones was found dead by his parents at his Bromsgrove home in Patch Street at Christmas-time.

Worcestershire Coroner Sarah Murphy concluded that suicide was the reason for the 30-year-old former West Midlands Police officer's death.

He was trying to make a new start after being released from HMP Hewell in October, but was affected by several "extremely stressful events", the court heard.

On Christmas Day evening, Mr Jones was arrested by police over another matter and his relationship with his girlfriend ended the following day.

He was also anxious about facing more criminal charges relating to when he was a police officer, the coroner said.

On December 26, paramedics were called out to Mr Jones' home but ruled he was depressed and not a suicide risk. His concerned parents Sharon and John Jones kept a close eye on him but two days later, made the fatal discovery at around 12.45pm.

Paramedics arrived to find his parents cradling their son's body, the court heard. A post mortem ruled the cause of death was due to hanging.

There was evidence Mr Jones had taken cocaine and drunk alcohol but that on the balance of probabilities, it didn't contribute to his death, the inquest heard on June 23.

Mr Jones was sentenced to six months imprisonment in September last year after assaulting a cyclist and a 15-year-old schoolboy while on-duty during the first lockdown in April 2020.

The officer was dismissed without notice from his policing role with West Midlands Police as the crimes were deemed as 'gross misconduct'.

Mr Jones was also due to stand trial on October 4 this year for another incident regarding an incident in Handsworth.

Coroner Ms Murphy said: "Death was a deliberate act by the deceased. He had undergone a number of extremely stressful events through his life recently.

"The end of the relationship with a girlfriend he clearly loved her much, a further incident with the police, matters outstanding with the Independent Office for Police Conduct(IOPC) and he'd recently served a custodial sentence having formerly been a police officer."

She added: "He was concerned of a further alleged offence and that if convicted he would receive a custodial sentence.

"He'd previously been a police officer and dismissed from the force. He was worried that due to media coverage, he feared he wouldn't have a fair hearing."

Declan Jones was found guilty of assaulting two members of the public on consecutive days during the first Covid lockdown Credit: West Midlands Police/PA

His ex-girlfriend, who dated the Redditch-born officer since 2018, said in a statement: "We had a good relationship but it all changed when he got suspended from work. He was in turmoil.

"Declan said everything was fine and the Police Federation rep said he'd be going back to work and there was nothing criminal against him, then it all changed and there were criminal charges.

"As it got closer to the trial date, I noticed that his drinking increased. The night before court, Declan asked me to go around. I'd never seen him cry but he was that night before being sentenced."

On Christmas Day evening, Mr Jones was returning home from a friend's in Redditch.

The court heard his girlfriend was tracking his movements on her phone but said he stopped in a road in Bromsgrove for around 15 minutes.

"He was texting me when I thought he was in the taxi," she said. "I rang him and a police officer told me they were with Declan. Following that, I decided to end the relationship."

Before going to prison, Mr Jones had twice threatened to kill himself. In the days before being found dead, he had messaged his girlfriend that they "would all be better off without him" and also talked of suicide again.

"I honestly didn't think he'd do it as he was such a proud person," said his ex. Meanwhile, his parents had grown increasingly concerned and been staying over with him and also called out West Midlands Ambulance Service on December 26.

Paramedics spent 30 minutes talking to him and deemed he wasn't an immediate suicide risk and recommended Mr Jones see a GP when the surgery reopened after Christmas.

The following day, he went to watch Bromsgrove Sporting play football and was described as "very upbeat" by a neighbour who saw him in The Crabmill Pub in Bromsgrove.

His dad, John Jones, told the inquest: "Declan was a much-loved son, grandson, brother and friend. It's like waking up every morning feeling intense heartbreak and knowing that is the best you are going to feel all day."

He added that leading up to his criminal conviction, his son received death threats online, had trouble sleeping and was anxious over media attention.

Since being released from prison with a tag, he had got a job with a local civil engineering firm and started playing rugby again.

"We feel there is a big gap in the provision of mental health in the community," added the dad. "We have dealt with a number of organisations and felt ignored, not listened to and somehow unimportant."

Mr Jones had denied causing actual bodily harm at Birmingham Magistrates' Court in October last year.

Who to contact if you or someone you know needs help:

  • Samaritans operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year, by calling 116 123. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at jo@samaritans.org

  • Papyrus offers support for children and young people under the age of 35 over the phone on 0800 068 41 41 between 9am and midnight every day of the year. If you would rather text you can do so on 07786 209697 or send an email to pat@papyrus-uk.org

  • Mind also offers mental health support between 9am and 6pm, Monday to Friday. You can call them on 0300 123 3393 or text them on 86463. There is also lots of information available on their website.

  • Hector's House is a suicide and crisis prevention and help resource, with links to specialist helplines.