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A police sergeant gassed his autistic son to death before taking his own life after being a protection “driven man” three months during the first Covid lockdown, an investigation has found.
The bodies of David Louden, 39, and Harrison, three, were found in their £210,000 semi-detached house in Kidderminster on August 13 last year.
County Chief Coroner David Reid heard Thursday that Sergeant Louden had been prescribed antidepressants but decided not to take them before the tragedy.
The inquest was told there was no evidence of a third party’s involvement in the incident, which was discovered after Louden’s wife Samantha, who was away from home on a family vacation, alerted a friend not to I was replying to your messages.
Sergeant Louden wrote a message to his wife Samantha the night of the deaths that was not sent.
Detectives have confirmed that one of his police colleagues killed his own son before taking his own life.
In another letter Sergeant Louden wrote to his sister Debbie, he said that “for the last 18 months of Covid, the demons have escaped.”
And in a note to his parents, he said ‘I hate myself’ and added ‘I know I am seriously mentally ill’.
Mr. Reid also heard evidence that Harrison was believed to have an autism spectrum disorder, and his parents engaged with health authorities to seek help for him.
In a statement made in recent weeks, which was read at the inquest, Sergeant Louden’s widow, who is also a police officer, described him as a “kind and loving” husband and father who was always supportive of others.
She said: ‘I don’t understand the unforgivable decision Dave made.
“I will never be able to forgive Dave for taking the life of my young son, Harrison, who was completely innocent.
‘He had no right to take my son’s life, regardless of how he himself felt.
Harrison was a happy boy. I miss him with every breath he takes. The pain of losing Harrison deepens as each day passes.
Mrs. Louden ended her statement by saying: ‘Sleep well, my little one. I love you to the moon and back.’
In separate earlier statements, Ms. Louden said that her husband had many anxieties, that the covid pandemic had “increased” enormously.
Sergeant Louden found the period “really difficult” and went on to counseling, but had not discussed taking his own life.
Both Sergeant Louden and Harrison died of asphyxiation late on August 12 or early on August 13, the inquest reported.
Summarizing the evidence in the case before reaching his conclusions, Mr Reid said Harrison had experienced significant language and communication difficulties, while it was “very clear” how much Mr and Mrs Louden loved and cared for him. , with “everything they did driven by a desire to do what was best for him.”
The coroner said: “The court has heard many stories about how the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdowns this country has had to endure affected people’s physical and mental health.
“For Dave and Sam Louden, that meant conferences (on Harrison’s condition) were often delayed and had to be held remotely rather than in person.
‘That does not imply any criticism of those involved; it is just a sad fact and one of the many consequences of the pandemic.
“But it seems to me that those consequences also affected Dave’s mental health.”
The coroner added that Sergeant Louden’s wife had described the impact of Covid on him as similar to “cabin fever”, which had left him withdrawn and very depressed.
Accepting that Sergeant Louden had been concerned about the health and well-being of Harrison and the rest of his family, Reid concluded: “These events, of course, led to an extensive police investigation.
“Having received all the evidence in this case, I am quite satisfied with the balance of probabilities that David Louden killed his son, Harrison.
“At the time of carrying out these two acts, Dave’s clear intention was to take Harrison’s life and then his own life.”