Family of Calne man Tom Edwards lodge complaint over police search

This Is Wiltshire: Tom Edwards went missing after a night out Tom Edwards went missing after a night out

The family of missing man Tom Edwards, whose body was later found by the side of a railway line, have lodged a complaint about Wiltshire Police action in the initial stages of his disappearance.

Mr Edwards, 32, of Derry Hill, went missing after a night out in Swindon on June 28 and was found after a five-day search by friends, family and police ending on July 3.

He was seen on the night of his disappearance by police officers who saw him walking in Church Place and took him to a bus stop outside the Swindon Designer Outlet Village.

However CCTV footage from Swindon railway station showed Mr Edwards boarding the 23.21pm train to Bristol Temple Meads and his body was found close to the railway line between Chippenham and Bath.

A complaint from the family referring to police contact before Mr Edwards went missing and action taken during the search has been passed to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

Tom’s older brother Will Edwards said the family was broadly happy with the police action, but they believe that more could have been done at the start of the investigation.

He hopes that the police will look at the process of searching for missing people so that if the same chain of events happens to someone else they will be found quicker.

He said: “It’s not necessarily a complaint but my mum handed in a diary of events and basically they admitted Tom would have been found sooner.

“There was a 12 hour period before Tom's phone was pinged and they knew the phone was in the Chippenham area. Before that most of the stuff was being done through us.

“Eventually he was found and we were lucky in that sense, the thought of not knowing was not worth thinking about.”

Wiltshire Police also made a mandatory referral to the IPCC following Mr Edward’s death as he had contact with the police prior to going missing.

Detective Chief Superintendent Kier Pritchard said: “The IPCC recommended that Wiltshire Police should undertake a local investigation in order to establish the facts, the sequence of events and their consequences.

“The subsequent report has outlined some areas of improvement which Wiltshire Police will take on board and will ensure any learning is incorporated appropriately.

“We can also confirm that a complaint was received by Wiltshire Police from a member of Mr Edward’s family. This complaint referred to the police contact before he went missing and the action during the search for Mr Edwards.

“This complaint was also referred to the IPCC.”

The family, who expect an inquest into Mr Edward’s death to take place in March, will spend Christmas supporting his widow Dee at the couple’s home.

Will Edwards said: “Obviously now is not a great time of year, Christmas makes it doubly hard, but everyone is going to try and get on as well as possible.”

Comments (3)

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7:16pm Fri 20 Dec 13

underdogs says...

Its sad they needed to express their dis satisfaction about how the Wiltshire Police dealt with this matter and it would be nice if the Police actually learnt and improved after receiving complaints of a similar nature over a period of time. However, if you Google Wiltshire Police or IPCC handling of complaints it doesnt give people much confidence, so dont expect a proper timely response or answers as its unlikely you will get them and regretably that could add further to your pain !
Its sad they needed to express their dis satisfaction about how the Wiltshire Police dealt with this matter and it would be nice if the Police actually learnt and improved after receiving complaints of a similar nature over a period of time. However, if you Google Wiltshire Police or IPCC handling of complaints it doesnt give people much confidence, so dont expect a proper timely response or answers as its unlikely you will get them and regretably that could add further to your pain ! underdogs

7:59pm Sat 21 Dec 13

Fluffy peppa says...

There seems a blame culture in this day and age, people just want to make a name for themselves by airing their loss in public.
There seems a blame culture in this day and age, people just want to make a name for themselves by airing their loss in public. Fluffy peppa

1:33am Mon 13 Jan 14

JustSayIt says...

It's a tragic loss and accident, however the police cannot be responsible for every drunk on the street and ensuring they make it home. 12 hours isn't a long time before carrying out further investigations or pinging a phone to confirm it's location, plenty of young men and ladies no doubt arrive home later than expected or planned, the police cannot begin to try and pin point there whereabouts on every occasion just because they are a few hours late home. Yes in this instance the outcome was tragic, not every instance ends how this did. Educating people to drink within their limits is important.
The police are as much to blame as drinks manufacturers and misjudgement by the individual.
It's a tragic loss and accident, however the police cannot be responsible for every drunk on the street and ensuring they make it home. 12 hours isn't a long time before carrying out further investigations or pinging a phone to confirm it's location, plenty of young men and ladies no doubt arrive home later than expected or planned, the police cannot begin to try and pin point there whereabouts on every occasion just because they are a few hours late home. Yes in this instance the outcome was tragic, not every instance ends how this did. Educating people to drink within their limits is important. The police are as much to blame as drinks manufacturers and misjudgement by the individual. JustSayIt

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