Police negotiator battling depression hanged himself on Christmas Eve

Police hostage negotiator, 40, battling depression and ‘issues’ with eight-year marriage hanged himself near his local Cenotaph just weeks after getting promotion

  • Detective Inspector Terry Hopkins hanged himself on Christmas Eve last year 
  • The 40-year-old was found by police near Cenotaph in Pontypridd, South Wales
  • Suffered from anxiety after serving in British Army before joining police in 2004

A police negotiator battling depression and ‘issues’ with his marriage hanged himself near his local Cenotaph just weeks after getting a promotion, an inquest has heard.    

Detective Inspector Terry Hopkins, 40, who had also served in the British Army, was found dead by fellow officers near the war memorial in Pontypridd, South Wales on Christmas Eve last year. 

He was said to have been ‘excited’ about an upcoming promotion and neither colleagues nor his family said he had shown any indications of wanting to self-harm. 


Detective Inspector Terry Hopkins (left and right), 40, who had also served in the British Army, was found dead by fellow officers near the war memorial in Pontypridd, South Wales on Christmas Eve last year

Mr Hopkins (pictured) served in the British Army for the 9/12th Royal Lancers between 1996 and 2002. During his time in the army, he also went on a tour of Bosnia

But an inquest into his death heard he had been prescribed medication for depression and anxiety after joining the force in 2004. And was experiencing ‘issues’ with his eight-year marriage in the days leading to his death. 

Pontypridd Coroner’s Court heard the father of three, who had previously served ‘with distinction’ in the 9/12th Royal Lancers between 1996 and 2002 including a tour of Bosnia, had been struggling with his relationship. 

He met his wife, police constable Leanne Hopkins, after he joined South Wales Police to become a negotiator, two years after leaving the British Army.   

Ms Hopkins told the inquest they had been having problems with their marriage, which saw him sleeping in a spare room in their home in Pontypridd.

She said she was woken on the morning of Christmas Eve last year by the sound of Mr Hopkins driving off in his car. 

Having become concerned for his welfare, she began searching the Pontypridd Common walking trail for him.

But she then realised he had left his work phone at their home despite being scheduled to work a shift at Barry CID.


Several police officers said in statements they also did not witness indications Mr Hopkins (left and right) wanted to end his own life, and confirmed he was not subject to any internal investigation before his death 

She dialled 999 after finding his abandoned car parked in the area and saw that his wedding ring and handwritten notes were in the back.

She was then joined by colleagues who informed her her husband had been found dead by the common’s Cenotaph.

Mrs Hopkins said: ‘During our whole relationship he had never once expressed any suicidal thoughts.

‘His death has come as a great shock to me, friends, and colleagues. I don’t think anyone could have seen this coming.’

Several police officers said in statements they also did not witness indications Mr Hopkins wanted to end his own life, and confirmed he was not subject to any internal investigation before his death.

Detective Constable Dean Taylor said he had met him three days before, and described him being ‘excited’ about his upcoming promotion as an intelligence commander.

Mr Hopkins is pictured alongside his brother at the Somme. Both have served in the armed forces

Detective Inspector Terry Hopkins, of South Wales Police, died on Christmas Eve. A fundraising page following his death has raised £15,596 for PTSD Resolution

A toxicology report found Mr Hopkins had drunk alcohol before his death, but coroner Ian Boyce said he did not believe it altered Mr Hopkins’ ‘specific intention to take his own life’, which was supported by a handwritten note he had left in his car.

Mr Boyce recorded the cause of death as suicide by hanging.

A fundraising page in memory of Mr Hopkins launched by his son, Oliver, following his death has raised £15,596 for PTSD charity PTSD Resolution.

In a post on JustGiving, the police officer’s son wrote: ‘My dad loved his job, but behind the smiles he was carrying a burden of the sights he had seen and the events he witnessed, and became very unwell, suffering with PTSD, and we lost him on Christmas Eve 2018.

‘The recent loss of him has affected us all and has put into perspective what someone goes through mentally after leaving or being in any Armed Forces.

After his death Chief Superintendent Stuart Parfitt, divisional commander for Bridgend and Vale of Glamorgan, said: ‘Terry was a fantastic detective, hard working and enthusiastic and a great ambassador for the communities of South Wales that he served.

‘Terry was a hugely respected member of my team and everyone is totally shocked and devastated to hear of his death.

‘Our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time.’

For confidential support in the UK, call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, see samaritans.org for details 

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