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Coroner raises concerns after man takes his own life 30 hours after release from police custody

The “commitment and loyalty” of Shaun Howes to Waveney Football Club in Lowestoft has been hailed after he died, aged 39, on Saturday, May 18. Picture: Waveney FC

The "commitment and loyalty" of Shaun Howes to Waveney Football Club in Lowestoft has been hailed after he died, aged 39, on Saturday, May 18. Picture: Waveney FC

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A coroner has raised concerns with how information is passed between officers and custody after a father-of two took his own life just 30 hours after being released from a Suffolk police station.

Suffolk Coroners Court in Ipswich Picture: ADAM HOWLETTSuffolk Coroners Court in Ipswich Picture: ADAM HOWLETT

Shaun Howes, 39, was found hanged in the garage of the home of his mother in Lowestoft on May 18.

An inquest into his death, at Suffolk Coroner's Court in Ipswich, heard Mr Howes had been taken into custody at Great Yarmouth Police Investigation Centre two days before his death on suspicion of assaulting his wife.

However no charges were brought and a statement from his wife, Louise, described her husband as a 'kind and generous' man who had hit hard times after getting into debt.

A talented footballer, Mr Howes had played more than 700 matches for Waveney FC.

The inquest heard his behaviour had deteriorated in the previous months, he had been feeling depressed and there were times he would go missing for days on end.

Mrs Howes said at one point her husband had sent her a photo of a knife and said he wanted to take his own life.

She said she contacted police a number of times about him.

After his arrest, Mr Howes was assessed in custody by psychiatric nurse Nicholas Oliver as it was the first time he had ever been arrested.

Mr Oliver told the inquest Mr Howes acted calm and collected during his assessment, telling him he was 'fine' and saying he didn't have any mental health issues.

However, the information Mrs Howes had told police about his previous disappearances and depression were not passed to the custody sergeant or the physiatric nurse.

Mr Olivers said: "It would have been useful to have that information but if someone does not want to engage with us there's nothing I can do."

Senior Coroner Nigel Parsley concluded Mr Howes died by suicide.

He added: "I am sufficiently concerned about what I have heard, especially the fact that Shaun was a missing person and police had been contacted on a number of occasions.

"I will be writing to Suffolk and Norfolk Constabularies and will be asking if there's anything that can be done to improve the information flow to see if we can make that type of information available to custody staff."

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