Login

Register

Login

Register

School ‘taken aback’ after inquest into death of former head teacher held without its knowledge | #teacher | #children | #kids | #parenting | #parenting | #kids


A Surrey school has said it was “taken aback” after discovering an inquest into the death of its former head teacher who was found dead was held without its knowledge.

The inquest into the death of William Murdock, former head teacher at Danes Hill School, in Oxshott, took place on Thursday, June 17, at Surrey Coroner’s Court.

Mr Murdock’s body was found on the evening of Wednesday, February 10 this year at a location in Woodlands Lane, Oxshott, according to Surrey Police.

READ MORE: Head teacher found dead in Surrey woodland had been arrested on suspicion of sexual assault

A police spokesperson said at the time: “We were called at around 8.45pm on February 10 to woodland in Oxshott following the discovery of a man’s body.

“The body of the man, who is in his 60s, was found at a location in Woodlands Lane.”

The date and time of inquests are usually listed on Surrey Coroner’s Court’s website in advance, but the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) confirmed that Mr Murdock’s hearing was scheduled the night before it took place.

The MoJ said: “The inquest was listed the night before due to the availability of the family and the coroner.”

The court said the coroner concluded Mr Murdock’s death was a suicide, but due to the late listing, SurreyLive was not able to attend the hearing to obtain further details.


Signing up to the SurreyLive newsletter means you’ll receive our daily news email.

It couldn’t be simpler and it takes seconds – simply press here, enter your email address and follow the instructions.

You can also enter your address at the top of this page in the box below the picture on most desktop and mobile platforms.

Changed your mind? There’s an ‘unsubscribe’ button at the bottom of every newsletter we send out.

School ‘taken aback’ at speed of conclusion of inquest

Danes Hill School, where Mr Murdock, 60, had taught for more than 35 years, said it was not informed about the inquest, despite having received legal advice that it would be an interested party.

Bursar Richard Quinn said: “Unfortunately the school was not informed that the inquest into Mr Murdock’s death was opened and concluded on June 17, having only been listed in the coroner’s court the night before.

“We had been receiving ongoing legal advice that the inquest would be in public and the school would be an interested party.

“The school was therefore taken aback at the speed of the conclusion of the inquest given the extremely challenging and distressing circumstances we had been dealing with in the days leading to Mr Murdock’s suicide on February 10.”

Funeral cortege passes by for William Murdock (the former head of Danes Hill School, Oxshott).
Funeral cortege passes by Danes Hill School for former head teacher William Murdock

Mr Murdock’s funeral took place on Tuesday, March 23 and there was a cortege outside the school, where people could be seen lining the pavements to pay their respects as vehicles passed by.

Mr Murdock arrested on suspicion of sexual assault before death

Prior to his death, Mr Murdock had been arrested on suspicion of sexual assault. The offence, involving an adult victim, was alleged to have taken place on Friday, January 29 at an address in Surrey.

In a letter sent to parents on Tuesday, February 16, seen by SurreyLive, Vernon Educational Trust, which manages the Leatherhead Road school, confirmed that Mr Murdock had been the subject of a police investigation.

The letter, written by chair Hugh Monro, said: “I regret to inform you that, in the days prior to his death, Mr Murdock had been the subject of an investigation by Surrey Police and had been suspended from his role as Head.

“It is important to reassure you that the allegations did not concern children or any child safeguarding matter.”

Surrey Police said last month that it is not taking any further action in relation to the allegation of sexual assault, which was reported to the force on Friday, February 5.

A police spokesperson said: “A 60-year-old man was arrested in connection with the incident at the time and subsequently released on conditional bail. However, the case is no longer being actively investigated.”

How did the school respond to the allegation?

On Tuesday, February 2, just days before his death, Mr Quinn said it was reported to him and the deputy head, Rob Andrews, that an allegation had been made against Mr Murdock.

He said they informed the Chair of Governors immediately in line with the school’s policies and procedures, and an internal investigation commenced straightaway.

On Thursday, February 4, Mr Quinn said Mr Murdock handed him his resignation, however it was not accepted.

Mr Quinn said: “Later that day [February 4], Mr Murdock was formally issued with a letter suspending him on full pay pending the outcome of the ongoing investigation.”

Danes Hill School sign, Leatherhead Road, Oxshott.
William Murdock had taught at Danes Hill School for more than 35 years

The following day, the school said it was informed that Mr Murdock had been arrested and taken into custody for questioning. He was subsequently released on conditional bail.

The Chair of Governors then assigned a pastoral-care lead for every person involved in the investigation, Mr Quinn explained.

On the evening of Wednesday, February 10, Mr Quinn said the school was told Mr Murdock had gone missing and officers had found his body. Police said there were no suspicious circumstances.

Following these events, Mr Quinn said the school has continued to support everyone involved, with appropriate medical care and advice, and counselling.

He said: “The whole school community has been profoundly impacted by this case and our thoughts and prayers will continue indefinitely for everyone affected.”

He added: “A further review of culture and leadership is planned so that we can improve the school management structure and processes, to create a happy and vibrant place of work.”

Maxine Shaw has since been appointed as the new head teacher and she will start in September 2022. In the meantime, Mr Andrews has been appointed as acting head teacher.

‘Not necessary’ for council to investigate further

Following the inquest, Surrey County Council (SCC) said it will not be investigating this case further, as the allegations did not concern children.

A SCC spokesperson said: “We take the safeguarding of children incredibly seriously and will always take appropriate action to support their safety and wellbeing where necessary.

“As these allegations did not concern children or any child safeguarding matter, it was not necessary for Surrey County Council to investigate further.”

SurreyLive has contacted Surrey Coroner’s Court on numerous occasions, requesting court documentation for Mr Murdock’s inquest, however the court has not responded.

SurreyLive submitted a Freedom of Information request to obtain these documents, however, since the coroner is not a public body, they are not obliged to respond.

Sign up to our daily newsletter to get more news from SurreyLive straight to your inbox. Find out how here.



Source link

Leave a Reply

Shqip Shqip አማርኛ አማርኛ العربية العربية English English Français Français Deutsch Deutsch Português Português Русский Русский Español Español

National Cyber Security Consulting App

 https://apps.apple.com/us/app/id1521390354

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=nationalcybersecuritycom.wpapp


Ads

NATIONAL CYBER SECURITY RADIO

Ads

ALEXA “OPEN NATIONAL CYBER SECURITY RADIO”

National Cyber Security Radio (Podcast) is now available for Alexa.  If you don't have an Alexa device, you can download the Alexa App for free for Google and Apple devices.   

nationalcybersecurity.com

FREE
VIEW