Councillor facing huge surcharge bill found dead: Fellow Tories believe former Westminster housing chairman accused in report on alleged gerrymandering committed suicide
Friday 28 January 1994
Police said last night that Dr Michael Dutt, a former housing committee chairman, died from gunshot wounds but no one else was being sought in connection with his death. Fellow Conservatives believe that he committed suicide after being 'pilloried' in the light of a district auditor's report that accused six councillors and four council officials of wilful misconduct.
Last night, Patrick Evershed, vice-chairman of the Cities of London and Westminster Conservative Association, said: 'Michael Dutt and the other people accused have been pilloried in the media by the publication of the district auditor's report, but they have not been allowed to release other documents they believed would prove their innocence. He publicly denied the charges against him, but he would have been ruined by the costs of defending himself. If you drive a man to despair in this way, something like this is bound to happen.'
Dr Dutt, 43, a councillor between 1986 and 1990, was found alone in his flat at St Albans, Hertfordshire, on Wednesday night. It is understood that he had been absent for two days from his practice in Knightsbridge, and from St Albans and Hemel Hempstead Hospital, where he specialised in medicine for the elderly.
One fellow Tory, who asked not to be named, said that she understood documents relating to the Westminster gerrymandering affair were found by his side.
Dr Dutt, along with Dame Shirley Porter, the former council leader, Barry Legg, who subsequently became a Conservative MP, and seven others, was accused of mounting an allegedly illegal campaign to empty council houses in marginal wards and sell them to potential Conservative voters.
Last week, in an open letter to John Magill, the District Auditor, he wrote: 'There are a number of falsehoods and twisted interpretations in what you say. I had no interest and was not influenced by considerations of gerrymandering at any time . . . although I believe the High Court would reverse your findings, this together with hearings in the (Court of) Appeal and Lords would last several years and consume resources and energy I do not have, while attempting to conduct my medical work.'
Last night, Mr Magill said: 'Any news like this is extremely tragic.'
Simon Milton, the deputy leader of Westminster City Council, said he was appalled by Dr Dutt's death. 'We have to question a system of local government inspection which can allow the production of the most damaging report in the most lurid language before it has gone to court and then claim it is only a 'provisional' report, allowing it to be widely repeated by the media. We also have to question a system that can allow loyal, hard-working public servants to live with the threat of being professionally and financially ruined by enormous surcharges,' he added.
Another Conservative said Dr Dutt had been depressed by the possibility of being surcharged.
Paul Dimoldenberg, former leader of the Labour group on the council, said: 'This is dreadful news. Dr Dutt was a quiet person but, politically, he was highly intelligent and enjoyed the cut-and-thrust of debate.'
Hertfordshire Police said that the coroner had been informed and an inquest would be held on Monday.
Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts
Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested
George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios
Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?
Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets
Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination
I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title
- 1 Indian footballer Peter Biaksangzuala dies after injuring spine doing somersault celebration
- 4 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 5 Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake report claiming that the street artist's identity has been revealed
'Russian submarine spotted' by Swedish military off coast of Stockholm
Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver allegedly kicks gay couple off for kissing
Amal Alamuddin calls for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain: 'Injustice has persisted for too long'
Lord Freud: Tory welfare minister apologises after saying disabled people are 'not worth’ the minimum wage
£80 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Year 5 Teacher KS2 teaching job...
£35000 - £45000 Per Annum Pensions Scheme After 6 Months: Clearwater People So...
£35000 - £37000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst / Busines...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Senior Change ...