A man took an overdose three days after returning home to find police searching his property and a BBC film documenting the raid.

Russell Cordes, 49, took his own life with an overdose of prescription medicine at home in Dover, Kent, in April last year.

Police were investigating intelligence that indecent images of children had been downloaded and made available to share from an IP address linked to him.

His family have accused the police of having "blood on its hands" over its handling of the case, and pointed the finger at the BBC for being a "catalyst" for his death.

An inquest into his death was halted in the summer, after it emerged the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IOPC) was conducting its own investigation into his suicide. The inquest resumed yesterday.

Mr Cordes took an overdose of prescription medication three days after the ordeal
Mr Cordes took an overdose of prescription medication three days after the ordeal

Kent Police arrived at Mr Cordes' home with a BBC camera crew in tow who were filming a three-part documentary about their investigation team.

When Mr Cordes' arrived at home they continued to film outside the property - where he told them he did not consent to appearing on camera.

Detective Constable Darren Bassett said: "He was asked if he had seen any indecent images of children. He said he had but it wasn't something he had searched for.

"I explained to him if it was an accident, then it wasn't anything to worry about because we would be able to see what search terms and websites he used."

A laptop and a mobile phone were seized from the house, but he was not arrested.

Mr Cordes' did not sent to appearing on camera, an inquest at Maidstone Coroners Court heard
Mr Cordes did not consent to appearing on camera, an inquest at Maidstone Coroners Court heard


An interview was set up for the following day at a police station in Canterbury - but Mr Cordes never showed up, and two days later he was found dead.

Concerned neighbours notified police community support officers over his well-being.

A note was also found in Mr Cordes' house which referenced "stigma" and said that "he was sorry but could be happy now".

During the inquest, his family quizzed DC Bassett on why no welfare checks had been carried out before police and the camera crew arrived.

Mr Cordes' stepmother Heather Cordes asked: "Did you ask Russell whether he suffered from depression or anxiety?"

Mr Cordes' family feared the police and BBC investigation pushed him towards suicide since he already suffered anxiety
Mr Cordes' family feared the police and BBC investigation pushed him towards suicide since he already suffered anxiety (stock image)

He replied: "You take somebody at face value. There was no reason for me to believe there was any underlying issues."

Coroner Katrina Hepburn asked DC Bassett whether there was any duty to carry out welfare checks before a search warrant.

He replied: "We carry out checks to confirm who lives at the address but their medical records wouldn't be available to us."

Russell's sister Michele said: "You have got blood on your hands."

His daughter Drew attended the hearing and paid tribute to her father.

She said: "My father always put me first. There was not a moment I didn't feel love and adored by him. We were incredibly close."

Police said they didn't have insight into his mental health because they didn't have access to his medical records
Police said they didn't have access to his medical records and didn't know the status of his mental health (stock image)

She said that after her father lost his job at Currys, where he had been for 20 years, he had suicidal thoughts and had even written a note.

However, after after he secured a new position at P&O Ferries, he was much happier and in a "good place".

Drew added: "When I spoke to him on April 12 over text, I got no indication of anything wrong. I got the impression he was thinking to the future.

"My concern is that the presence of the BBC film crew was the catalyst to him taking his own life. The stress of the situation was completely unnecessary."

The IOPC report found that no officers had behaved in a manner that warranted prosecution or disciplinary action.

But it did accept that the presence of BBC crew caused Mr Cordes'"more upset and distress".

When Mr Cordes lost his job at Currys he had suicidal thoughts and even wrote a note
When Mr Cordes lost his job at Currys he had suicidal thoughts and even wrote a note

Summing up, Ms Hepburn said she was satisfied that Russell took an overdose of prescription medication with the intention to take his own life.

She said: "His mind was made up. He may well have taken into account the recent event with the police investigation.

"There's evidence in his note with 'the stigma'. That may well have been the police investigation itself."

Ms Hepburn said the presence of the BBC film crew could have been a "background factor", causing him further stress, but was unlikely to have been the sole reason.

The BBC were filming the raid as part of a series documenting police investigation
The BBC were filming the raid as part of a series documenting police investigation

She added: "If you have a film crew filming a search warrant being executed then this may well be something that causes them to become a higher risk than they might otherwise have been without the film crew. It is already a stressful situation."

After the hearing, Superintendent John Phillips of Kent Police's professional standards department said: "Following the IOPC investigation, and now that the inquest has taken place, force policy relating to media presence during search warrants will be reviewed to establish any learning."

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The footage filmed outside Russell's house on April 15 will not be aired.

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