Sussex PCSO issued final written warning after Hastings woman’s death

Sussex Police
Sussex Police

A Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) who conducted a welfare check on a woman who was found dead in her apartment the next day has been issued a final written warning following an IPCC investigation.

The PCSO, who serves with Sussex Police, was assigned to carry out a welfare check on a 64-year-old woman who was said to be living in squalor by a concerned workman carrying out repairs on the building.

The workman said the woman, later identified as Cherry Madden, looked emaciated and appeared to be living within the confines of her living room in Cornwallis Gardens, Hastings on August 17 last year.

The PSCO was assigned to conduct a welfare check at the property and attended alongside a colleague at about 2pm before reporting to Sussex Police there was no cause for concern.

Ms Madden was found dead the next day and an independent IPCC investigation was launched after the matter was referred to the organisation by Sussex Police.

A misconduct hearing panel on Friday (May 19) heard the PCSO was directed to a lower floor window by the workman and was able to view Ms Madden sitting in her living room.

The PCSO tapped on the window and said he saw Ms Madden, who he described as being well-presented, react.

He added he was unconcerned by the condition of her surroundings.

His description of her condition was in contrast with that of the workman, who said she looked very unwell, was not properly dressed and the room was squalid.

The following day the workman, who remained concerned, called for an ambulance to attend the property.

Police were also called to attend and Ms Madden was found dead. A post-mortem concluded she had died earlier that day.

The panel concluded that the PCSO’s actions construed gross misconduct and he was issued with a final written warning.

Commission Delegate Catherine Hall said: “I am pleased that Sussex Police agreed with the conclusions of our investigation that the PCSO’s conduct in carrying out his duty on 17 August 2016 required closer examination.

“The IPCC will publish a summary of its report following an inquest into the death of Ms Madden, scheduled for next month.”

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