Who was Richard Morris? Diplomat on Harry Dunn case was found hanging from tree
The judicial inquest into Morris' death heard from his wife Alison who said her husband was 'extremely stressed' as part of the Covid crisis taskforce
A senior diplomat who worked on the Harry Dunn case and the Covid crisis was found hanged from a tree. Richard Morris, 52, reportedly was suffering from “extreme stress” after working on these cases. He vanished while running near his home in Hampshire in 2020, and his body was discovered months later.
Police began an investigation and organised searches after he vanished while out jogging. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab broke the news to staff after Morris' body was found, describing him as an “outstanding diplomat” who had “served his country with distinction". “We've had the tragic news that they have found the body of our much-liked colleague Richard Morris," Raab had said. “I am deeply saddened by his death and my heart goes out to his wife and his three children.
“Many of you will feel this personally. He served his country with distinction as an outstanding diplomat who embodied the best of Her Majesty's government, he had added. “He was an immensely well-liked colleague and he will be hugely missed.”
Who was Richard Morris?
Morris was born on 1 November 1967 in Droitwich Spa, Worcestershire, to John and Kathleen Morris. He attended Droitwich Spa High School. Morris, who was born with a port-wine stain birthmark on the left hand side of his face, had undergone laser surgeries to remove the mark in his teen years. The procedure, however, was later halted.
Morris studied at Aberystwyth University. He received his BA Hons degree in English literature and then went on to study at Aston University, where he earned an MBA degree. He also underwent contract work for the management consultancy Touche Ross. He married Alison Waring in 1992 and eventually had three children together.
Morris, the former ambassador to Nepal, was reportedly working long hours in order to co-ordinate briefings to ministers when the UK government first began fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. Morris was also part of a team working on the Harry Dunn case, in which a teenager was mowed down in 2019 by Anne Sacoolas near RAF Croughton.
An inquest into Morris' death heard that he had been “totally unprotected” from the demands of working on the Covid taskforce. Alison Morris, his wife, reportedly claimed that he was afraid he did not have enough time to process information. His wife told him that he was not “responsible for Covid-19". “I think it felt to him like he was being told to man up and be more resilient," Alison told the inquest. She said she thinks Morris was "desperate” to keep on top and had “no real time off”. On May 6, 2020, Morris was last seen running near his home, which he did to relieve stress sometimes. Three months later, his body was found hanging in Alice Holt Forest.
Morris had returned to the UK with his wife after working in Nepal for several years. He worked for the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London for several months. Alison said that he was “proud” to work for the FCDO, and found it “varied, stimulating and compelling”. Morris was reportedly trying to adjust to his return to working in London.
While Prime Minister Boris Johnson was in intensive care, he helped co-ordinate briefings for ministers as part of his work within the Covid-19 taskforce. “It was the most stressful job he had ever done. He was extremely stressed," his wife said. "I don't know when the night sweats started but I told Richard he should see a doctor. He said that he was just stressed. The bed would be completely drenched. On top of that, the potential fallout from any error he might make was likely to be very public. If any information error got past him the Government or the Civil Service would be torn apart.”