Police knew of man’s death for six hours before telling his wife

Susan Cowie who was not told by the police that her husband had died whilst working in Derbyshire for more than six hours.

Susan Cowie who was not told by the police that her husband had died whilst working in Derbyshire for more than six hours.

0
Have your say

A Burnley woman has demanded to know why police failed to tell her about her husband’s death until six hours after they first knew about it.

John Cowie (67) died of a suspected heart attack at the wheel of a tipper truck he was driving on the A6 near Chapel-en-le-Frith on Friday, July 3rd.

John and Susan Cowie on their wedding day in December 2002. (S)

John and Susan Cowie on their wedding day in December 2002. (S)

He was pronounced dead at 9-36am but his wife Susan Cowie (47), of Manchester Road, Hapton, found out about her husband’s fate from a friend at 5pm, just before police arrived, despite Derbyshire Police making colleagues in Burnley aware of his death three times during the day.

Mrs Cowie says police told her a major incident in Burnley was to blame for nobody coming out to her.

She said: “Police in Chesterfield notified Burnley three times, at 11am, 1-30pm and at 3-50pm telling them they must go and inform me.

“They said there had been a major incident but what kind of major incident could there have been that there wasn’t anybody in the area that could tell me my husband had died?

“I actually found out off my son’s karate teacher whose best mate was the owner of the tipper firm. John had only started working there on the Monday.”

To compound matters, the time taken to inform her meant Mr Cowie could not donate his organs.

Mrs Cowie said: “He had a donor card but because the time I was told was hours after, he didn’t even get his dying wish. He could have saved lives.

“I can’t understand. He had his driving licence with him, his tacho card and his passport with full contact details.”

Mrs Cowie, who was married to John for 12 years, said she is planning a formal police complaint.

She described her husband as a “hero” and police in Derbyshire had praised Mr Cowie’s efforts in managing to park his truck safely while having a heart attack.

Paying tribute to the father of six and granddad of five, she added: “I was speaking to John 10 minutes before he died. He sounded absolutely fine, and there hadn’t been anything wrong with him before his death. This has come as a terrible shock for the whole family. It still feels like John’s out on the lorry and will be home soon.

“We are devastated to lose John. But we are so proud that, in his final moments, John managed to stop his lorry and avoid a really serious crash.

“I just wanted to say a huge thank you to everybody who helped on the day. From the people who directed traffic, to the paramedics who tried to resuscitate him, to Derbyshire Police, and to everybody else.

“Everybody in the family called him grumpy. And he was grumpy, but a lovable grump. He loved his family, he worked hard for his family, and he loved his lorries. ”

A Lancashire police spokesman said: “We would like to offer our condolences to Mrs Cowie at this time.

“We strive to provide the highest standards of service to families and relatives of those who have died suddenly and we are looking into the circumstances around this particular matter.”