A police superintendent took his own life after he quit in disgrace and his partner left him, an inquest heard today.
Michael Rogers left a note for his partner of eight years Susan Wynn saying ‘We so nearly made it, can’t go on’ before hanging himself in the garage of her home, the court was told.
The 56-year-old left Dorset Police in May 2021 after 32 years of service while he was under investigation for bogusly claiming more than £4,000 in expenses. A police disciplinary panel found him guilty of gross misconduct in November 2021 and told him he would have been sacked had he not quit.
Miss Wynn told an inquest in Bournemouth the investigation had a huge impact on him and he struggled to transition to his new job as a self-employed gardener after three decades in the force.
Michael Rogers left a note for Susan Wynn saying ‘We so nearly made it, can’t go on’ before hanging himself in the garage of her home
Susan Wynn, his partner of eight years, told an inquest in Bournemouth today the investigation had a huge impact on Mr Rogers
His mental health deteriorated when she ended their relationship in the summer of 2022, but he continued to stay with her at her home in Lytchett Matravers, near Poole, Dorset.
Miss Wynn, who also worked for Dorset Police, said: ‘When he left the police he found the gardening very difficult. Being self-employed I think he found stressful and his body was not used to that manual work.
‘He wasn’t a natural gardener but the circumstances of leaving the police he felt his options were limited. He threw himself into gardening but he never found that quite as fulfilling as his work in the police.
‘The investigation had a huge impact. He spent all his time trying to defend his person. For a year and a half he was totally focused on the investigation, a lot of things he enjoyed doing, he stopped doing.
Michael Rogers took his own life after he quit the force while under investigation for pocketing £4,300 in fake expenses and his partner left him, an inquest heard
‘He put himself under a lot of pressure. I think I probably didn’t appreciate the impact the investigation had. He was a very private person, but he appeared on the surface to be coping well.’
Mr Rogers joined Hertfordshire Police in 1988 and transferred to Dorset in 2001, where he oversaw major incidents.
But he left under a cloud after the investigation was started in July 2019 which found he pocketed £4,300 in expenses between July 2015 and March 2019.
He claimed an allowance for using his personal vehicle to carry out duties while using police vehicles for work and for private journeys.
He also knowingly declared less private mileage than he had travelled and submitted claims for expenses such as meals that he had not incurred.
A misconduct hearing in November 2021 found he breached standards of professional behaviour relating to honesty and integrity, as well as orders and instructions, duties and responsibilities and conduct.
The inquest heard he had contacted his GP about his mental health in October 2020, during the investigation, but did not seek any further help at that stage.
In August last year, he went to stay with his sister following the breakdown of his relationship and made an unsuccessful suicide attempt on August 4. He then spoke to his GP, who referred him to the community mental health team (CMHT), on August 5 and returned to living with Miss Wynn.
In a phone call with the CMHT, Mr Rogers said he did not want medication and it was agreed he would see his GP again on Monday. But his two daughters became concerned and on August 6 took him to The Retreat, a mental health support service. A doctor requested he go to A&E to be fully assessed, but Mr Rogers refused.
Miss Wynn said he thought he was going to get counselling sessions to help him, but there had been some confusion and when he realised he was not he was upset and disappointed.
She told the inquest she made sure he was feeling okay and not suicidal before leaving the house in the mornings and they would talk about how his day had been when she got home.
Jane Wilson, Alison Rogers and Susan Wynn
Miss Wynn discovered on August 11 that Mr Rogers had conducted concerning research. She said he had he promised he would not do anything and arranged to talk when she got home.
Miss Wynn said: ‘He felt like he had been let down and abandoned by mental health services. He felt he was just a tick box and nobody cared.
‘He said he would be offered other treatments but it was going to be months ahead.
‘He promised me he would not do anything stupid. I felt when I left the house that he would be okay.
‘His daughters phoned me very worried when they couldn’t get hold of him. I felt everything would be okay – we had the conversation in the morning and it was not unusual for him to turn the phone off when gardening.’
When Miss Wynn got home about 7.45pm that day she noticed the garage door was open and the light was on. She went to look and found Mr Rogers’ body.
She later found a suicide note in the kitchen and told the inquest her normal routine would be to go into the kitchen first and she only went to the garage because she noticed the door was open.
The inquest in Bournemouth continues.
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