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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 March 2008, 20:53 GMT
Top UK police chief is found dead
Michael Todd
Michael Todd had been with the force since 2002

The head of one of the biggest police forces in Britain has been found dead.

Michael Todd, the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, disappeared while out walking on Snowdon, north Wales, on Monday night.

Rescue teams found the 50-year-old's body on part of the mountain called Bwlch Glas on Tuesday afternoon.

The cause of his death is not yet known but suicide is understood to be one line of inquiry. Letters addressed to his family were also found.

Deputy Chief Constable Dave Whatton confirmed the death of his friend, a father-of-three, in a statement outside force headquarters in Manchester on Tuesday evening.

He said: "Yesterday, Michael Todd, the chief constable of Greater Manchester Police was off-duty and walking in Snowdonia.

MICHAEL TODD
Born in 1957
1976 Trains with Essex Police, moves to Met
1995: Assistant Chief Constable, Notts
1998 Dep Assistant Commissioner, Met
2000: Assistant Commissioner, Met
2001: Queen's Police Medal
2002 Chief Constable, Manchester
2006: Vice chairman, Acpo

"Last night we became concerned for his welfare and as a result searches started to find him.

"These searches have continued today and unfortunately this afternoon a body has been found.

"I and all the officers of Greater Manchester Police and all the members of Greater Manchester Police Authority are absolutely shocked by what's happened and what has taken place in the last 16 hours."

Mr Whatton said although the body had yet to be formally identified, he believed it was that of the chief constable.

Reports of his disappearance emerged after a large scale search was reported in Nant Peris, above the village of Llanberis, Gwynedd.

The Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team began the task of taking his body off the mountain on foot on Tuesday evening.

It was brought down at about 1930 GMT and transferred by ambulance to Ysbyty Gwynedd, a hospital at Bangor.

Map

Rescue spokesman Ian Henderson said teams had been hampered by "appalling" weather conditions, including heavy rain and high winds, which meant rescuers could not use a helicopter.

Mr Henderson confirmed that the alarm was raised by walkers who found "personal effects" belonging to Mr Todd while out on the mountain.

His body was spotted just before 1500 GMT about 200 yards away from the spot where the items were found, he added.

Sources at Greater Manchester Police said that among the items found with him were personal letters written to his loved ones, the BBC's Nick Ravenscroft said.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith led a series of tributes to Mr Todd, saying she was "saddened" to learn of his death.

"Chief Constable Todd has had a long and distinguished career in various forces and has contributed greatly to the fight against crime and terrorism," she said.

"My thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues."

Taser stunt

Tributes also poured in from police bodies, chief constables from other forces, senior MPs and political figures in Manchester.

Mr Todd, a former Met Police assistant commissioner, joined GMP in 2002. He also worked in Essex and Nottingham.

He was appointed chief constable in Greater Manchester, England's third largest force, in October 2002 following the retirement of Sir David Wilmot.

He had been a police officer for more than 30 years, having joined Essex Police in 1976, and was tipped to become Britain's highest-ranking officer - a future Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.

Mr Todd's most high-profile media appearance was when he allowed himself to be hit by a Taser stun gun to prove they were a safe alternative to firearms.



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