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Inquest into ex-Kent police chief David Ainsworth

Former ACC of Kent Police David Ainsworth
Former ACC of Kent Police David Ainsworth

An inquest has heard of the last days of an ex-Kent police chief facing dozens of misconduct allegations.

David Ainsworth, who rose to the rank of assistant chief constable at Kent after 22 years in the force, had relocated to Wiltshire at the time of the investigation.

He was facing up to 24 allegations from women across the two forces.

At an inquest into his death his boss, Brian Moore, defended his force's actions.

Deputy chief constable David Ainsworth was found hanged while under investigation for making sexist remarks to female colleagues.

Brian Moore, the former chief constable of Wiltshire Police, said the force had offered support to David Ainsworth in the weeks before his death.

The inquest heard Mr Ainsworth felt the force was "gunning for him" and feared he would "lose everything" as a result of the investigations.

But his former boss Mr Moore - now head of the troubled UK Border Force - said Mr Ainsworth's welfare was taken seriously.

Trowbridge Coroner's Court in Wiltshire was told that investigations into alleged sexist behaviour covered DCC Ainsworth’s two years with Wiltshire Police AND his 22 years at Kent.

The high-flying officer - nicknamed ‘The Brain’ due to his intelligence - was accused of telling one female ‘nice buttons’, while looking at her top, in one of the claims.

Statements were taken from around 50 serving colleagues and some of the claims involved previously investigated reports of misconduct - for which he had receiving extra training.

Coroner David Ridley heard that the allegations relating to Mr Ainsworth's time in Kent surrounded two text messages - but the court was not told the exact nature of the claims.

The £110,000-a-year-officer was found hanged at his home in Potterne, Wiltshire, on March 22 last year, six months after the allegations came to light.

Mr Moore told the inquest that some of the allegations into Mr Ainsworth were previous cases that had already been investigated.

He said his deputy had concerns that investigators were "going over old ground he thought had been trod".

A psychologist told the coroner’s court that Mr Ainsworth had confessed to him that he knew he had "hurt" people in a meeting one week before his death.

Chief constable Lynne Owens, head of Surrey Police and a commissioner with the Met Police, told the inquest that she had been chosen by Mr Ainsworth as a "friend" to brief him on the investigation.

She revealed that the officer - who she had previously worked with at Kent Police - did divulge to her that he was thinking of suicide.

DCC Ainsworth’s partner Joanna Howes previously told the inquest how she found her boyfriend hanging in the garage of their cottage on March 22.

Mr Ainsworth, 49, was removed from regular duties last September as South Wales Police conducted an external inquiry. He joined Kent Police in 1986, before leaving to work in Wiltshire.

While in Kent, he took on a number of roles, including head of the force inspectorate, area commander at north Kent and head of the force communications centre.

The three-day inquest continues.

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