North West Wales

Officer disciplined for telling widow her husband had died over phone

Ruth and David Williams Image copyright Ruth Williams
Image caption Ruth Williams and her husband David, who died of an asthma attack in January 2014

A police officer who told a Gwynedd woman over the phone her husband had died has been disciplined.

Ruth Williams, 32, from Tremadog, was working in a pub when the North Wales Police officer told her that partner David had died from an asthma attack.

Initially he claimed he "reluctantly" broke the news when he answered the dead man's phone, which was not true.

"I'm happy that the officer has been disciplined in this way," Mrs Williams said.

The police apologised to Mrs Williams a month after her 34-year-old husband died last January but she added: "I didn't need an apology, I wanted it publicly putting right.

'Not appropriate'

"It was not appropriate for me to be told of my husband's death over the phone.

"The officer could have made more of an effort to inform me in person."

Supt Peter Newton said: "It is not the usual practice of North Wales Police to inform a next of kin of death by telephone.

"In the circumstances this was a wholly inappropriate and unacceptable way to inform Mrs Williams of her husband's death and both the force and the officer concerned have apologised to her."

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