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Widow Hopes Inquest Will End Two Year Wait For Answers Following Former Police Officer’s Death

Wife Of Decorated Officer Instructs Irwin Mitchell To Support Her At Hearing


Andrew Hewitt, Press Officer | 0114 274 4255

The widow of a former police officer who died after suffering an asthma attack is hoping an upcoming inquest will end her two year wait for answers regarding his death.

Stephen Hartwell Thurman-Newell dialled 999 asking for an ambulance to be sent to his home in Wincanton, Somerset.

However, he was pronounced dead around 30 minutes after paramedics from South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust arrived.

Following the 62-year-old’s death, his wife Susan, instructed specialist medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to support her through the inquest process.

Expert Opinion
“Not knowing the full picture of what happened that evening has caused a great deal of anguish for Susan and the rest of the family as they attempted to come to terms with Stephen’s sudden death.

“The family rightly have a number of serious concerns about what happened to Stephen and hope that the inquest will now provide them with the vital answers they deserve.

“If during the course of the inquest any areas where patient care can be improved are identified, it is crucial that appropriate measures are put in place.”
Eleri Davies, Solicitor

Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in handling medical negligence cases 

Stephen served with Kent Police for 30 years. For many years he was an acting sergeant and a response officer. He received many accolades including a number of chief constable and judge commendations and was known by colleagues as ‘A Street Warrior’.

After retiring in 2010 he and Susan, who had been together for 20 years, moved from Thanet to Somerset. Stephen, a father and step-father, was employed as a driver transporting agricultural students to college as well as a pall bearer.

He called 999 for an ambulance shortly after returning home from work on 16 September, 2016.

Susan said: “There’s not a day goes by that I don’t miss Stephen. He was my loving husband and constant companion who would do anything for his family and friends and who was also proud to have dedicated almost half his life to Kent Police protecting the people of Kent.

“While time has moved on since Stephen’s death our family hasn’t. Our family is now incomplete and having to spend family birthdays and what should be other special occasions such as Christmas, not knowing the full reasons why he died.

“Whilst understanding that the inquest and listening to the evidence of what happened in the lead up to Stephen’s death is going to be extremely upsetting, I am hopeful it will mean that at least I will now be given the answers to the many questions I  have raised.”

Stephen used to play football and rugby for Kent Police, was an instructor for the police gym, continuing to use the gym regularly since moving to Somerset.  He was also a qualified open water diver, diving in the English Channel and warmer waters abroad. Stephen continued to be an enthusiastic palaeontologist, on the Jurassic coastline.

An inquest into his death is due to be held at Wells Town Hall from 27 November and is listed for three days.

Stephen also leaves behind a son and daughter, Anthony and Penny Louise, and two stepsons, Richard and Matthew, along with four granddaughters and two step grandchildren.