Leicestershire police chief Gordon Fraser in fraud probe is found dead
Police in Leicestershire are in shock after a senior officer being investigated over allegations of fraud and trying to dodge a speeding ticket died when he was hit by a train.
Assistant Chief Constable Gordon Fraser was killed in Aston Magna, Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire, shortly after midday on Friday. The 48-year-old's death is not being treated as suspicious.
Mr Fraser had been due to appear before St Albans Magistrates' Court today alongside his wife, Teresa, who is also a police officer. The couple were charged in July with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice by allegedly lying to help Mr Fraser avoid a speeding fine.
At the time of the alleged offence, Mr Fraser, who had been a police officer for almost 25 years, was suspended from his post while he was investigated for suspected fraud and gross misconduct.
The inquiry centres on his alleged involvement in an overseas property business, in which investors reportedly lost money.
After the news of Mr Fraser's death emerged, a source told the Mercury: "At Christmas, he will have been suspended for two years.
"Whether or not the investigation into the property investment business clears him, that is a very long time for someone to have to live with something like that hanging over him.
"This is a tragic outcome. People who knew him, or worked with him, are devastated and are struggling to come to terms with it all.
"The past 18 months have been a bitterly disappointing end to what had been a very good police career and there were great expectations about what that man would have done with his career in the future."
An officer, who asked not to be named, said: "I met Mr Fraser a couple of times and I was really impressed with him. I heard the news on Friday and rang colleagues to ask them what they knew about it and how they were feeling.
"None of us know anything about the investigations or what he's supposed to have done, but that's the nature of these things. People will be shocked and upset because he was widely seen as one of us."
In January last year, after he was suspended, Mr Fraser spoke to the Mercury to protest his innocence.
He said: "They are paying me to stay at home, which is nonsense. I have been a public servant all my career.
"All I want to do is get back to my job of protecting the public. It's what I was brought up to do. I was doing a pretty damned good job when I was working and I was making a difference.
"I'm desperate to help the investigation and I am convinced my name is going to be cleared.
"Obviously, they will dot every I and cross every T and it will take months and then they will start asking me questions. Even if I am proven to be totally innocent, my career is over."
Mr Fraser's 42-year-old wife, a detective with West Midlands Police, is also suspended as part of the investigation.
Burbage councillor Mary Sherwin was a member of the Leicestershire Police Authority panel which interviewed and appointed Mr Fraser.
Coun Sherwin, who is no longer a member of the authority, said: "He seemed a very capable and forthright man. I can only say how sorry I am for his family.''
As the force's assistant chief constable, Mr Fraser oversaw its performance on tackling and investigating crime.
Leicestershire Police and Leicestershire Police Authority issued a joint statement, in which they said: "Our thoughts are with his family and friends. Mr Fraser had been offered welfare support during his suspension."
A spokeswoman for British Transport Police, which is investigating Mr Fraser's death, said: "Officers were called to the railway line in Aston Magna, Moreton-in-Marsh, on Friday following a report of a man being struck by a train.
"Paramedics from Great Western Ambulance Service also attended but the man was pronounced dead at the scene."