A police watchdog has been accused in open court of hampering an investigation into the death of a serving officer.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) failed to give key evidence to a welfare officer prior to the death of Romford PC Ryan Gadsden, an inquest heard, then withheld evidence from a posthumous investigator.

Coroner Nadia Persaud has now ordered the watchdog to answer questions within 28 days.

She issued the order at an inquest into the death of PC Gadsden, who took his own life in a Romford park in September 2023.

He was suspended from duty while the IOPC investigated criminal allegations both it and the Metropolitan Police Service now refuse to answer questions about.

The Mirror has reported that he stood accused of grooming younger female cadets, which the IOPC has not denied.

Mrs Persaud focused the inquest on whether police had missed opportunities to prevent his suicide.

It was told that upon arrest in May 2023, Gadsden denied suffering any stress, mental health issues or suicidal thoughts. He had never sought mental health treatment.

But in mid-July 2023, while analysing devices seized in searches of Gadsden’s home and vehicles, the IOPC found a draft suicide note written on his iPad in 2019, long before he faced misconduct claims.

The inquest was told there were also internet searches about suicide, which could not be dated.

Met Police and IOPC witnesses disagreed about what information was shared with Gadsden’s welfare officer, PS Jamie Iverson.

Rebekah Smith, at the IOPC, said she relayed all the findings to him, testifying that she considered the undated searches to be of “higher critical importance” as they might have been recent.

But PS Iverson testified that she hadn’t mentioned the 2019 note at all and had told him the searches were “historic”.

Given that alleged description and his own recent experience of Gadsden being in “good spirits”, he waited until a meeting on August 5 to ask him about the discoveries.

The court was told Gadsden responded that “he had no idea they were on there. He had not thought about such issues, past or present.”

Gadsden’s family pointed out that PS Iverson could have challenged that claim that if he had been told about the 2019 note.

Det Con John Farthing, from City of London Police, agreed.

After reviewing the handling of Gadsden’s welfare, he said the IOPC should have sent PS Iverson the 2019 note.

“I would want to read out the note verbatim to Ryan in this case and then assess his reaction and any sort of tells that may give me a cause of concern,” said Det Con Farthing.

At the next meeting, on August 14, noted DS Iverson, Gadsden “seemed visibly upset with the further allegations made against him”.

No detail was given in court about those allegations.

“He seemed a bit shocked,” DS Iverson testified. But two days later, he “appeared better”.

However, it is now known that Gadsden had already drafted a suicide note by the time of that meeting.

At their final meeting, in September, Gadsden was going over “worst case scenarios”, PS Iverson said.

“He was asking me, is there a chance that he can be remanded when he goes back to his bail-to-return,” he testified. “He had that in the back of his mind.”

But he added: “He had holidays planned. He had stuff to look forward to in the future.”

Gadsden was due to answer bail on November 22, but was found dead on September 25.

Det Con Farthing found no failings by DS Iverson or the Met, but criticised the IOPC for refusing to turn over material he asked for during his investigation.

“That, to me, is not adequate,” he testified. “I wanted to get to the bottom of things and I still do. I’m a detective.”

But, he added, he had no power to make any finding about the IOPC’s actions or inactions.

Mrs Persaud ruled Gadsden’s death a suicide and described failing to send DS Iverson the 2019 note as a “missed opportunity”.

In the interest of preventing future deaths, she gave the IOPC 28 days to explain what it would do differently if the same circumstances arose again.

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