Sussex PC Doug Franks found hanged after misconduct investigation Brighton News

A POLICE officer who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following a nail bomb attack has been found hanged after learning he was being investigated for misconduct, according to investigation.

PC Doug Franks, who joined Sussex Police in July 2019, was found dead at his home in Lee-on-the-Solent, Hampshire on February 10, 2021.

Following his death, The Sun reported that PC Franks, of Bognor, was being investigated for misconduct for breaching Covid-19 rules by meeting a colleague in a car outside of working hours to fill out “work-related documents”.

The inquest was told he had received misconduct “documents” the day before his death, although the hearing was not told what the content of the allegation was.

Deputy Coroner Robert Simpson said the 43-year-old was found by his grandfather Tony Franks – who shared the house with him.

His girlfriend, Emma Neal, a nurse consultant, said in a statement read at the hearing that PC Franks was proud to be a police officer but suffered from depression and drank and went to the gym to help him cope.

She added that he was a loving father who “adored” his son.

The inquest heard that PC Franks had been prescribed antidepressants and had previously been sectioned after suicide attempts.

He also suffered from PTSD after witnessing a nail bomb attack in the 1990s.

Ms Neal said they would support each other because of their high-pressure work and added: ‘Doug loved being a police officer and found helping those who were self-harming or attempting suicide very rewarding.

The hearing was told PC Franks was ’emotional’ when told of the disciplinary proceedings against him and wondered if he was going to lose his job.

Ms Neal said PC Franks told her it was ‘nothing untoward and he should let it take its course’.

But the inquest heard PC Franks searched the internet that night for methods of suicide and also ‘a police officer breaking Covid’.

Ms Neal said he also told her he had to ‘put his head in the sand and talk to the Fed (Police Federation) representatives’.

Ms Neal said she sent him messages on February 9 saying ‘he was amazing’, that she missed him and ‘don’t forget that’ and he replied: ‘Thank you’.

She added: “I’m struggling to understand what happened to him and he’s no longer in my life.”

The coroner adjourned the hearing to give his conclusion on Wednesday.

Following the death of PC Franks, Sussex Chief Constable Jo Shiner said: ‘Doug was a much-loved and well-respected colleague, who fulfilled his ambition to become a police officer when he joined Sussex Police in July 2019.

“He was proud to achieve Independent Patroller status and served to keep the people of Sussex safe.

“A valued colleague, he was devoted to his son and his career. He joined the force after working as a financial investigator with the Southeast Regional Organized Crime Unit where he formed strong friendships and was known for his infectious enthusiasm.

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This notice was published: 2022-03-14 20:20:00

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