A policeman who trained youngsters on the ITV show Rookies killed himself after struggling to cope with the stresses of the job, an inquest heard.
Police constable Nigel ‘Nige’ Furlonger was found dead in his bed by his mother Shelia Furlonger, with whom he lived, having told a psychiatrist he often thought of hanging himself.
The 50-year-old, who spent 15 years in the police and helped train new constables in his final years, was found unconscious on March 8.
A statement from his brother Kevin, also a police officer, was read out at the inquest by assistant coroner for Surrey, Christopher Sutton-Mattocks.
Police constable Nigel ‘Nige’ Furlonger killed himself after struggling to cope with the stresses of life in the force
He explained that Mr Furlonger had worked at the University of Surrey after leaving school before joining the police force in 2002.
He took up tutoring in 2007 and seven years later took up a role in the development unit, responsible for new recruits in their probationary phase.
He also told the inquest that Mr Furlonger had a great interest in art, particularly in the work of cartoonist David Shenton and was an amateur bee-keeper, having had seven hives at home.
His brother also wrote about his interest in DIY and that he wanted to be a plasterer after leaving Surrey Police but that he struggled to cope towards the end of his life.
‘He says that he became aware that Nige had some mental health issues,’ read Mr Sutton-Mattocks.
‘He had been seeing a counsellor because he had been suffering at work and at home.
‘I think it was at the beginning of Christmas time 2016 that Nige had told us he had considered retiring from the police just after his 50th birthday because of the stresses of the work.’
Tributes from his colleagues at Surrey Police poured in when the news of his death broke in March
His brother told how Mr Furlonger revealed thoughts of killing himself in February.
‘He said he found it difficult to talk to people from Farnham Royal Hospital because professionally he had taken people there himself,’ he added, before writing that his brother suffered from a complex post-traumatic stress disorder.
Describing the day his brother was found dead, he explained that his mother had last seen him at 9pm the previous night when he went to bed.
‘She went to sleep at about 11pm,’ he added.
‘When she went to the toilet during the night she heard him snoring in bed. Next morning she got up as normal but when Nigel didn’t get up she went up and found him lying on his back in bed. He was unconscious.’
After phoning the ambulance service his mother began administering CPR but Mr Furlonger was pronounced dead by paramedics when they arrived at 10.41am.
Mr Furlonger, of Cedar Way, Guildford, Surrey, appeared in the television series Rookies training new recruits and in the show in August 2016 was quoted as saying: ‘When they first come to me they are a member of the public in a uniform. I’ve got to turn them into a police officer.’
Surrey PC Nigel ‘Nige’ Furlonger trained youngsters on the ITV show Rookies (pictured)
A toxiciology report written by Christopher Madden revealed Mr Furlonger had high levels of morphine in his system when he died as well as alcohol levels below the legal driving limit.
Boxes of morphine tablets were found in his room together with a note containing instructions for accessing his computer, where a more detailed suicide note – not read to the inquest – had been saved.
A report written by mental health worker Nicola Boyden, revealed that Mr Furlonger had previously thought of hanging himself, partly as a result of dealing with incidents of hanging in his job.
‘Nigel told me he was having thoughts of suicide, especially looking at trees with thoughts to hang himself,’ she wrote in a statement to the inquest in Woking, Surrey.
She added: ‘Nigel had been in the police for 15 years and witnessed a number of incidents and fatalities that had impacted upon him. In particular two incidents of young people hanging themselves.’
Mr Furlonger, who spent 15 years in the police and helped train new constables in his final years, was found unconscious on March 8 this year
Pathologist Ashley Fegan-Earl recorded the death as morphine and alcohol intoxication, partly caused by underlying coronary heart disease.
Mr Sutton-Mattocks concluded the death as a suicide.
‘Nigel Furlonger was clearly a much-loved son and brother,’ he said.
‘He was also, from all the evidence we have heard, an exceptional, hard-working and conscientious police office who had given a great deal to society over the years in his work.
‘He had worked as a police officer and of particular importance was the time he had spent assisting to train and help police officers in the probationary development unit.
‘Clearly over a period of time serious problems arose from both his work and outside of his work but one must never forget the important part that police officers play in our society and the stresses and problems they are exposed to in the course of their work.’
He added: ‘As we have heard from all the evidence and on the basis of that, I am sure Mr Furlonger took his own life. I am going to record a conclusion of suicide.’
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