Suicide police chief's work 'not affected by 38 liaisons'

Official report into officer's death and tangled love life
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The Independent Online

He had extra-marital affairs with colleagues, was at a significant risk of blackmail, damaged the reputation of British policing and would not have been offered a new contract had his paymasters at Greater Manchester Police (GMP) known what he was up to.

But yesterday, the official report into the circumstances surrounding the death of Michael Todd, the former chief constable who froze to death on a mountainside after taking a cocktail of drugs and alcohol, found that the troubled policeman's personal life did not impact upon his ability to do his job.

Published yesterday, the report, written by Sir Paul Scott-Lee, the Chief Constable of West Midlands, confirmed that the 50-year-old enjoyed "a wide range of relationships with different women". It said that his lifestyle "brought with it a significant potential for compromise to him as a Chief Constable" and that it "adversely impacted upon the reputation of the police service". However, despite these observations, the report concluded: "There is no evidence that these relationships adversely affected the day-to-day discharge of his duties as chief constable."

During his police career – which included six years as the head of GMP and four at the Metropolitan Police in London – it is believed that Mr Todd had affairs with five female officers and staff and "liaisons" with up to 38 women.

After his death he was linked to members of police staff including his secretary, Anne Neild, a civilian officer, Tracy Clarke, a police recruit, Laura Nagulapalli, and Superintendent Julia Wortley. He was also said to be involved romantically with the poet Sheryl Sleigh, the newspaper journalist Andrea Perry and, most recently, the Manchester businesswoman Angie Robinson.

After his wife discovered his affairs he travelled to Mount Snowdon in North Wales and sent text messages to seven people begging for forgiveness. His last message read: "I'm sorry for what I've done, forgive me in another life." He was found in the snow after having taken sleeping pills and drinking gin.

The report was ordered in the days after Mr Todd's death in March 2008. During the 10-month inquiry, Sir Paul's team interviewed 150 people but, due to "an absence of legal powers", a number of women refused to co-operate. Those who agreed did so on the basis that they remained anonymous.

Senior officers at GMP gave an "unequivocal endorsement" of Mr Todd's policing abilities, but told investigators that they only knew "Michael Todd the professional police officer". The report continued: "On reflection, they realised they knew relatively little, if anything, of Michael Todd the private individual." It added that Mr Todd refused to socialise with colleagues other than at formal events and declined all other social invitations.

The report also made numerous references to his extra-marital affairs, saying that they "lasted over many years". It read: "The failure of Michael to fully disclose the extent of his extra-marital affairs made him potentially vulnerable to compromise."

Paul Murphy, chairman of the Greater Manchester Police Authority, said: "Had GMPA been aware of the information recorded in Sir Paul's report, there is no doubt that the discussion relating to the extension of his appointment may have reached a different conclusion."

Mr Todd's wife, Carolyn, 47, has always supported her late husband. Yesterday she said: "Michael was not just a dedicated police officer, but also a loving father and husband. He is deeply missed."