Police Sgt David Louden killed his son and then took his own life

An inquest has heard that Police Sgt David Louden killed his three-year-old  son and then took his own life at the family home in Kidderminster on 13 August 2021.

He was known to be struggling with mental heath issues during the first Covid lockdown and had been prescribed anti-depressants but decided not to take them.

The bodies of the 39 year old and his son were discovered when Mr Louden’s wife, Samantha, who was on a family holiday at the time, alerted a friend that he was not replying to her messages.

Both died from asphyxiation either late on 12 August or early on 13 August, the coroner was told.

In a statement read to the inquest, his widow, who is also a police officer, described her husband as “kind and loving” but said she did not understand “the unforgivable decision Dave took”.

“I will never be able to forgive Dave for taking the life of my little boy, Harrison, who was completely innocent,” she added.

She ended her statement by saying: “Sleep tight, my little boy. Love you to the moon and back.”

In other statements, Mrs Louden said her husband had a lot of anxieties which the pandemic had “escalated” enormously.

He had counselling but had not discussed taking his own life.

Mr Reid was told Harrison was thought to have autistic spectrum disorder and his parents had been working with health groups to find support for him.

He said in his summary it was “crystal clear” how much Mr and Mrs Louden loved and cared for him.

The coroner said he was satisfied “on the balance of probabilities” that Mr Louden killed his son and took his own life.

Det Ch Supt Damian Barratt, from West Mercia Police, said it had been a “dreadfully sad case”.

“Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with David and Harrison’s family and friends at this incredibly difficult time,” he added.

The force said it had referred the deaths to the local safeguarding children partnership and they had confirmed nothing had been found that could have raised concerns beforehand