Page last updated at 12:56 GMT, Saturday, 28 March 2009

Police apology over suicide rope

Angie Gerelli and John Gilmore
The couple had separated but were still close at the time of Mr Gilmore's death

Police have apologised to a widow for giving her the rope her husband had used to kill himself.

Angie Gerelli, 52, who was separated from her husband, was given the rope when officers returned his possessions.

Computer trainee John Gilmore, 50, was found dead in a park near his home in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, in November.

Ch Insp Jay Dave of South Wales Police said: "This was a very unfortunate incident and I would like to apologise for any distress caused as a result."

He said the officers concerned would be "spoken to" and steps would be taken to ensure it never happened again.

Mr Gilmore's possessions were returned to his wife, who lives in Amersham, Buckinghamshire, because she was his next of kin.

Police had given Ms Gerelli three bags containing her husband's laptop, wallet and briefcase, but when she looked in the bags she noticed the rope.

I am appalled - it was the most insensitive thing to do
Angie Gerelli

"I saw a yellow colour and realised what I had in my hand. I went to pieces and I just sunk to the floor," she said.

"I dropped the rope and put my hands to my face."

Despite being separated for four years, the couple were still close.

"I am appalled - it was the most insensitive thing to do. I asked the officer if a gun would be given to the widow of a man who shot himself," she said.

"He said they wouldn't because a gun is an illegal weapon - but as far as I'm concerned this rope was just like an illegal weapon."

Officers later telephoned Ms Gerelli to apologise for their insensitivity.

An inquest earlier this month determined that computer student Mr Gilmore had taken his own life in Porthkerry country park where he was discovered on the afternoon of 2 November by a dog walker.

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