Father-of-three kills himself after being fired for leaving cash register to chase shoplifter out of store

Shaun Winstanley, 49, took the drastic step of ending his life after he was fired from his job as a customer assistant at Tesco


                            Father-of-three kills himself after being fired for leaving cash register to chase shoplifter out of store

A father-of-three killed himself one week after he was fired from his job for leaving his till and chasing a shoplifter out of the store.

Shaun Winstanley, 49, of Blackpool, Lancashire, a customer assistant at Tesco where he had worked 17 years and won numerous awards, was cited for "unreasonable behavior" and for putting himself and a customer in danger after chasing the shoplifter this past January 2, according to the Daily Mail.

On January 14, he was fired from the role following an investigation meeting and his appeal against the decision was rejected on February 6.

Between February 11 and February 13, he suffocated himself at his home. 

An inquest into his death at Blackpool Town Hall heard of how, on the night of February 13, one of his friends became worried about him after not seeing him for several days and went to check on him at his house.

There, he found the door locked, lights on, and heard his Bichon Frise dog, Benji, barking inside.

After knocking on the door and receiving no response, the friend called 999, and police forced themselves into the property, where they found Winstanley dead on the floor next to the settee.

Two days earlier, he had reportedly confided in a friend that he had been having suicidal thoughts since he had been sacked from his job and had his appeal rejected. 

While his firing from his job at Tesco was seemingly the straw that broke the camel's back, the inquest was told of how the 49-year-old had a history of mental health problems that worsened after he was the victim of a gunpoint robbery while working at a Tesco Express branch in Blackpool in May 2018.

His stepdaughter Siobhan Winstanley said he was offered five counseling sessions by Tesco after the traumatic robbery, and that he was transferred from the branch where he worked on Highfield Road to shops in nearby Bispham and Poulton, but that he was not offered any time off work.

She said her stepfather was even disciplined for missing three shifts after the robbery and that he had not been the same since.

"He said he was struggling to sleep," she said. "He was very anxious. He was very depressed. He was struggling at work. He didn't have a social life anymore because it had taken him back that much. He said to the therapist, 'I'm suicidal.'"

"He said 'I have flashbacks and I lie there in bed at night and think about how I'm going to kill myself'. He sounded really defeated, just not himself, not the person we had grown up with."

She said she was not after money and called for employers to take care of their employees' mental health more.

"I am angry at Tesco," she said. "We have got our father in an urn in our living room. I get up every morning and my dad is sat there. He was 49. I think there needs to be an awareness of mental health, and I think employers need to be doing right by their employees. The fact that Tesco won't even speak with me is so upsetting."

"I could try to take them to tribunal but anything they could give me wouldn't be good enough. It would be blood money. I don't want money. I want my dad back."

Coroner Clare Doherty handed down a conclusion of suicide and said, "Although there is no note, I'm satisfied that he intended to take his own life, not only from the evidence of his mental state and how he was feeling, but also the method that was used, the element of organization, and the evidence from police that there doesn't appear to be anyone else involved."

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