Brexit lawyer found dead after claims of inappropriate sexual behaviour at work parties

Geraint Thomas suspended from job hours before death

Thursday 10 October 2019 17:06
Geraint Thomas was found dead at the foot of cliffs at Dunraven Bay, Vale of Glamorgan
Geraint Thomas was found dead at the foot of cliffs at Dunraven Bay, Vale of Glamorgan

A partner at a global law firm was found dead at the foot of cliffs after he was suspended for alleged inappropriate sexual behaviour at works parties, an inquest heard.

Geraint Thomas from Cardiff, worked for multinational practice Eversheds Sutherland as a Brexit lawyer, giving advice to business owners ahead of the UK’s exit from the European Union (EU).

The senior solicitor was found dead in the Vale of Glamorgan, south Wales, just hours after he was told in a human resources (HR) meeting that a number of people had raised complaints about his behaviour at two works parties.

Lorraine Kilborn, Eversheds’ international HR director, told the coroner’s court in Pontypridd that the 47-year-old was “polite and calm” when she told him he was being suspended while the company investigated the complaints.

She said: “We did ask him to leave the building, and he said ‘OK, I’ll collect my things and go’.”

Anthony Rees, a fellow partner at the law firm who also attended the meeting, said the allegations “were treated as a potentially serious matter and related to an allegation of inappropriate sexual behaviour”.

Mr Thomas’s wife told the inquest she believed the HR meeting was “fundamental” to him being found dead at the foot of the beach’s cliffs the following morning on 18 December last year.

Rebecca Thomas said the couple and their two children had been about to embark on “the trip of a lifetime” to celebrate Christmas on the east coast of Australia.

She had no concerns about him over the weekend before his death as they celebrated with family, she added.

She said: “He was the happiest and least stressed I’d seen him. He was excited about the trip. To say he was looking forward to it is an understatement. There was absolutely no hint anything was troubling him at this time. He always told me in the past if something was troubling him at work.

“Normally I can see when he’s clearly distracted but there were no signs of this whatsoever over this weekend.”

Ms Thomas said the last time she saw her husband was when he kissed her on the cheek and said he would be home later that evening.

She messaged him twice when he failed to return home and filed a missing person’s report when security guards at his office said he had not been at there all day.

Mrs Thomas said: “I was not party to the information at the HR meeting he’d attended at work that day. I’ve no doubt what was said at that meeting was fundamental to Geraint’s change of state in mind and subsequent actions later that day.”

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A man matching Mr Thomas’s description and said to have been looking “slightly distracted” was seen at the beach by a walker at about that afternoon.

Officers searching for Mr Thomas, then identified as a “high-risk person”, found his car parked in the early hours of the following morning, before a police helicopter located his body at the foot of the cliffs.

Mr Thomas studied at Oxford University’s Jesus College between 1989 and 1992, before gaining a BA and a Masters degree in History.

A professional biography on his law firm’s website stated he was one of the firm’s “Brexit lawyers”, who worked with clients to plan ahead.

His expertise were listed as consumer credit, mortgage regulation and savings and deposit products.

The inquest continues.

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