Police are probing allegations a BBC radio journalist killed himself after being sexually harassed by a high-profile female colleague.
Russell Joslin, 50, died last Monday afternoon after he was admitted to a mental health hospital following a failed suicide bid three days earlier.
The popular reporter had worked for BBC Coventry and Warwickshire since the mid-90s but his devastated family claimed he had been harassed by a female colleague.
They say Russell was bullied by the woman – who is a household name – after he spurned her sexual advances.
Yesterday Warwickshire Police confirmed they had been asked by Russell’s father Peter – a former chief constable who led the force for 44 years – to investigate allegations his son was sexually harassed and bullied by the woman.
A force spokeswoman said: “We can confirm that Warwickshire Police is assisting the coroner in establishing the circumstances of Mr Joslin’s death, including gathering information from the family which is normal practice in these matters.
“As such we are working with, and will be led by, the coroner who is responsible for conducting an inquest into the circumstances of Mr Joslin’s death.”
A statement from Russell’s family said: “This is what Russell would have wanted. It is the first step towards justice for Russell.”
Yesterday it emerged Russell, who lived in a flat next door to his parents’ home in Kenilworth, Warks., had received a text message in error from a BBC chief days before his death.
The text, from BBC West Midlands’ head of programmes Cath Hearne to Russell read: “However, do not contact him until he gets back to me. This is massively sensitive.”
Last week furious answer phone messages from the female colleague at the centre of the storm revealed she branded Russell “flaky” and a “loser” after they rowed during a meal out together in 2007.
One message she says: “Thanks a lot, you’ve p***** on your chips. I’m trying to get a taxi to Coventry. Thanks for abandoning me.
“Don’t ever ever ever think of me as your mate again. Do what you have to at the BBC because you are a loser on 27 grand a year.
“But don’t ever ever encroach on me or my talent.”
Another says: “Hi, it’s me. I’m in a taxi from Kenilworth to Coventry. Russell, don’t ever count on me as a friend. I’m going home.
“Please don’t think you can rely on me – you’ve insulted me. You have left me stranded in Kenilworth.
“You are flaky, you are poor, you are weak. I don’t want anything to do with you except on the radio. Goodbye.”
The final message says: “Hi, it’s 9.21. I’m back at my car. Don’t ever ever ever presume friendship with me again, all right? Goodbye.”
After calling for a BBC inquiry, the family yesterday called for an independent inquiry into whether the corporation’s management properly responded to Russell’s complaints about the alleged sexual harassment.
He had apparently spoken with occupational health this spring when he was off work sick with stress and depression. He was seeking desperately to have his issues finally addressed by the BBC.
On October 10, Mr Joslin texted his ex girlfriend Lucy Poulson, 32, saying a BBC human resources (HR) official denied a record of his complaint about the female colleague had been logged.
He stated: “Denied anything about (the former female colleague) was mentioned in occupational health report. Was very abrupt with her.”
An inquest into Russell’s death revealed he died of “asphyxiation” as a result of a “plastic bag in an airway”.