Council legal chief is found dead
SHOCKED colleagues have paid tribute to a senior council legal officer who has been found dead in woodland.
David White, who was in his 50s, had worked for Suffolk County Council for more than 20 years and held the post of interim head of legal services.
His body was found in woodland near Woodbridge on Monday evening after concerned family members contacted police.
In a statement sent out to the council’s thousands of employees via email, chief executive Andrea Hill said it was with “deep regret” that she must inform them of Mr White’s “sudden” death.
She said: “We have been in touch with Suffolk police who have confirmed a sudden death without suspicious circumstances, believed to be suicide.
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“David had been with Suffolk County Council for 21 years and this will be a very difficult time for many people across the organisation, not least those who worked most closely with David.”
Ms Hill said it would be particularly difficult for staff in the Customer Service Direct department, where Mr White’s wife Susan worked.
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“We have very little information about what actually happened or why and I have shared with you everything we know.”
Ms Hill said Tim Ryder would step into the interim, monitoring officer role, a position Mr White had been covering, and David Holt would help with team management.
She added: “I am so sorry that this is such a shock to us all. Our thoughts are with David’s family and friends at this time.”
Bryony Rudkin, deputy leader of the council’s Labour group, said she was “very sorry” to hear the tragic news.
“I worked with him over many years and always found him to be friendly and amenable.
“He was a lawyer who wanted to help you to do things rather than be obstructive.
“I’m sure staff at all levels will be feeling this loss keenly.”
Sally Marlow, Suffolk County Council’s head of HR, said: “Our thoughts are with David’s family and friends at this difficult time.’’
A spokesman for Suffolk Constabulary said: “Police were contacted at 6pm on Monday following concerns from a woman about the welfare of a man from the Ipswich area.
“Officers found the body of a man in his 50s in woodland, near Butley at 7.30pm.
“The death is not being treated as suspicious.”
Formal identification of the body was due to be carried out yesterday. A post mortem is scheduled to take place today and an inquest will be opened and adjourned in due course.