Tragic death of council director

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A COUNCIL director killed himself hours after he was suspended from his job, an inquest heard.

Rutland County Council’s strategic director for places, Aman Mehra, 42, was found hanged at his home on June 15.

Efforts by paramedics to revive him were unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead at 7.15pm.

An inquest in Leicester on Friday last week was told the tragedy happened the day Mr Mehra, a married father of two, was suspended and escorted from the county council’s offices.

The circumstances of the disciplinary inquiry involving Mr Mehra have not been revealed but the hearing was told there was no suggestion of any criminal activity on his part.

PC David Campion, who investigated the circumstances surrounding the tragedy, said that on the morning on June 15, Mr Mehra dropped off his wife and two children in Oakham before going to work.

A meeting took place with the council’s chief executive Helen Briggs at which Mr Mehra was suspended from work and asked to leave the premises.

Mrs Briggs accompanied Mr Mehra to his car, carrying his belongings and he was last seen at about 10.30am.

PC Campion said: “I don’t know his movements from then on for sure.

“I am aware that Mrs Mehra made a call to his mobile sometime in the afternoon and that call was not answered.”

PC Campion said Mr Mehra did not make or receive any other phone calls.

PC Campion told the inquest that a number of letters from the council had previously been given to Mr Mehra informing him that a disciplinary inquiry had started, “culminating in the one given on June 15 where he was told he had been suspended from work”.

The letters were found in Mr Mehra’s car.

The inquest was told toxicology tests found no evidence of drugs or alcohol in his blood.

PC Campion said Mr Mehra had never attempted to harm himself before.

Assistant deputy coroner Lydia Brown recorded a narrative verdict, stating that Mr Mehra took his own life by hanging.

“This tragic outcome took place on the backdrop of issues during the course of his employment at Rutland County Council,” she said.

“There has been no evidence at this inquest that the inquiry was anything other than appropriate.

“This inquiry was ongoing and therefore unproven at the time of his death.

“It is clear he shared his thoughts and actions with no-one so I am unable to comment on the state of his mind at the time of his death. No-one knew his intentions.”

Mr Mehra’s family requested a meeting with Rutland County Council to discuss the matter further, which Mrs Briggs agreed to during the inquest.

After the inquest, Mr Mehra’s brother-in-law Hemand Bhatia said: “The inquest might be over but our quest to find out the truth remains.”

The county council said its thoughts remained with Mr Mehra’s family.

In a statement after the inquest it said: “The last couple of months have been extremely difficult and traumatic for family, friends and colleagues of Aman Mehra, following his unexpected death in June.

“As is normal practice with any personnel or staffing issue, the council will not be making any public comment about the nature of the disciplinary investigation referred to at the inquest.

“However, we recognised from the outset that Aman’s family would need to know more and met with close family members on a number of occasions prior to the inquest.

“Any member of council staff that is subject to a disciplinary investigation is offered a great deal of support and advice, including access to trained counsellors, at every stage of the process.”