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Monday, 13 August, 2001, 11:40 GMT 12:40 UK
Ex-police chief found dead
Sir John Hoddinott
Sir John Hoddinott was a "distinguished" police officer
The former chief constable of Hampshire Police who was helping develop a new police complaints system has been found dead in a Middlesbrough hotel room.

Sir John Hoddinott, 56, was using Operation Lancet, an inquiry into corruption in Cleveland police, as a blueprint for the work.

As part of the work Mr Hoddinott had travelled to Middlesbrough with DS Keith Ackerman late on Sunday night, for preliminary meetings on Monday.

However, when he failed to come down for breakfast, Mr Ackerman went to his room at the Thistle Hotel and found Mr Hoddinott dead in bed.

'Highly regarded'

Police say there are no suspicious circumstances.

Cleveland Police chief constable Barry Shaw said: "Sir John was a highly regarded police officer who had a distinguished and outstanding police career .. he will be sadly missed within the police service."

Councillor Ken Walker, chairman of Cleveland Police Authority, expressed his shock and offered his sympathy to the family.

Mr Hoddinott was appointed in May to investigate the 7m Operation Lancet inquiry.

Former Detective Superintendent Ray Mallon
Ray Mallon was at the centre of Operation Lancet
Former Home Secretary Jack Straw ordered the inquiry, one of Britain's longest and most expensive police investigations, which examined allegations against members of Middlesbrough CID and it's chief, Detective Superintendent Ray Mallon.

Last year the Crown Prosecution Service decided there were no criminal charges to answer, but Mr Mallon was to face disciplinary charges.

He tended his resignation to the force on Friday.

Cllr Walker said Mr Hoddinott's review of Lancet was to be used as a case study by the Home Office to shape government proposals for a new police complaints system.

He said: "We shall clearly have to have urgent discussions with the Home Office about the future of the review, but obviously at this stage our thoughts are with Sir John's family."

He leaves a widow and two daughters.

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