Shoplift probe officer found dead

A high-ranking police officer who was arrested on suspicion of shoplifting wine with a colleague from a Marks and Spencer store was found dead today.





Police said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of Detective Chief Inspector Jim Torbet, who was found at his home in the early hours of this morning.

Mr Torbet, 54, had been suspended from Sussex Police since September after he and Chief Inspector Sharon Rowe were arrested on suspicion of shoplifting wine from an M&S store.

The pair were freed on police bail pending further inquiries following the alleged incident at the store in Shoreham, West Sussex.

A Sussex Police spokeswoman said Mr Torbet was found dead at his home in the Lewes area of East Sussex.



Sussex Police chief constable Martin Richards announced Mr Torbet's death in a message to staff.

Mr Richards said: "It is with the greatest sadness and regret that I have to tell colleagues of the sudden and untimely death overnight of Detective Chief Inspector Jim Torbet.

"Jim had given many years of loyal and dedicated service to Sussex Police, and in recent years has served as Detective Chief Inspector in the Professional Standards Department."

During Mr Torbet's 28-year career with Sussex Police he received five commendations.

Mr Richards added: "Jim was a popular and valued member of our team. I would ask that the privacy of all those affected by this news is respected at this very difficult time."

There are no suspicious circumstances concerning the death, which has been referred to the Coroner, the force added.



In 2003, Mr Torbet's 19-year-old daughter, bank clerk Rae Torbet, was stabbed to death by her ex-boyfriend, forklift truck driver Dellwyn James, after he lay in wait for her at her flat in Bexhill, East Sussex.

He broke down in tears as he saw James jailed for life at Lewes Crown Court later that year and outside court expressed his wish that James would be "third time lucky" with any further suicide bid.



Mr Torbet joined Sussex Police in 1980 and held a number of senior positions, latterly in the force's professional standards department.

Meanwhile, Ms Rowe, 44, is district commander of Worthing.

A trained English teacher, she became the first woman to reach the rank of inspector in Brighton and Hove in 1998 after joining the police service in 1986. She became Worthing's district commander last year.

Howard Hodges was appointed acting chief inspector in Worthing with immediate effect in Ms Rowe's absence, community leaders were told in an email from Sussex Police.

In the email, Mr Hodges said: "This change will not have any operational impact on the policing of Worthing."



Mr Torbet was vice chair of governors at Bexhill High School in Bexhill.

Its chair of governors, Brian Kentfield, said he was a governor at the mixed-sex school for more than 10 years.

Mr Kentfield said: "Jim was a guy who I had an enormous amount of respect for and he was a great figure. He was a fantastic guy and a great supporter of the school.

"He gave us very long and distinguished service at the school and I held him in high regard and as a very close friend."

A spokesman for the local education authority, East Sussex County Council, said: "We are very saddened by the news. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea