Dead police chief's wife tells friends she's 'lost her soul mate'

Leicestershire Police chief’s wife has told friends she’s ‘lost her best friend and soul mate’ after finding him dead from ‘suspected suicide’ at home two weeks after his retirement from force

  • Simon Cole, 55, was found dead at his home in Leicestershire yesterday morning
  • The former Chief Constable had retired from the force 12 days before his death 
  • His widow Joanne has told friends she has lost her ‘best friend and soul mate’
  • Couple had a ‘strong marriage and great family life’ with their two children
  • For confidential support, call the Samaritans on 116 123 or visit samaritans.org

The distraught wife of one of Britain’s top police officers who was found dead at home in a suspected suicide just two weeks after retiring aged 55 has told friends that she has ‘lost her best friend and soul mate.’

Simon Cole, who was chief constable of Leicestershire Police for 12 years, was found unconscious on Wednesday morning by his wife Joanne Cole at their home in the picturesque village of Kibworth Harcourt, Leicestershire.

Friends of Joanne, who is known as Jo, have been rallying around her at the family home, describing her and Simon’s marriage as ‘strong and united’ while insisting that they were both ‘pillars of the local community.’

The couple had two children, Ben, 21, and Emily, 17, and their family was hugely popular and respected in Kibworth Harcourt.

The wife of one retired Leicestershire Police chief constable Simon Cole who was found dead yesterday has told friends that she has ‘lost her best friend and soul mate’

Simon Cole, who was chief constable of Leicestershire Police for 12 years, was found unconscious on Wednesday morning by his wife Joanne Cole at their home in the picturesque village of Kibworth Harcourt, Leicestershire

Mr Cole, a keen cyclist who lived in the Leicestershire countryside, was the county’s longest serving chief constable

Jo, 56, was a leading member of the Kibworth Ladies Choir, which performed nationally and was also involved with a number of other local initiatives, playing an active role in village life along with Simon.

Friend Susan, who only wanted to give her first name and sings in the choir with Jo told MailOnline: ‘Both Jo and Simon were very important members of our community. She is just devastated and feels as if she’s lost her best friend and soul mate.

‘They had a very strong marriage and great family life. You would often see Simon out and about with Ben running or doing other sports.

‘We’re all trying to make sense of this because on the face of it, they were a very happy, balanced family.’

Another friend and member of Kibworth Ladies Choir said: ‘I’ve spoken to Jo and she is unable to make sense of what’s happened. They were a wonderful, loving couple looking forward to a new life together and now she feels as if she’s lost her best pal.’

Friend Susan, who only wanted to give her first name and sings in the choir with Jo told MailOnline: ‘Both Jo and Simon were very important members of our community. She is just devastated and feels as if she’s lost her best friend and soul mate’


Mr Cole grew up mainly in Essex after his family moved there from Leicestershire. He had been in policing for 30 years, serving with West Midlands and Hampshire, as well as the Leicestershire force

Reverend Ludger Fremer of St Wilfrid’s Church in the village, which Simon attended with his family told MailOnline: ‘They had a strong, happy family unit. A lot of people looked up to Simon and Jo because they were both very approachable and popular and appeared to have a fantastic relationship.

‘They are a family that is well known in this community. Simon was a big part of village life. He always attended local events and was always there with his wife when she was taking part in concerts to show his support. They were a great couple.

Reverend Fremer added: ‘I have spoken to Jo and the whole community is providing her and the children with as much support as possible.

‘They are surrounded by friends and relatives but it’s very difficult for them to have any private grief given that Simon was such a public figure.

‘He was looking forward to a new chapter in his life following his retirement which has made his death at such a young age even more shocking and devastating.’

He had been the UK’s longest serving Chief Constable – taking up his position in June 2010 before his recent retirement

Simon was the UK’s longest serving Chief Constable at the time of his retirement, he spent the majority of his career working for Leicestershire’s police force (Pictured: Leicestershire Police headquarters) 

Mr Cole was a passionate rugby fan and supported the local Leicester Tigers team.

The Leicestershire force has not given his cause of death – but have confirmed the matter has been referred to the coroner, who investigates sudden unexplained deaths such as suicides.

Mr Cole grew up mainly in Essex after his family moved there from Leicestershire. He had been in policing for 30 years, serving with West Midlands and Hampshire, as well as the Leicestershire force.

He had been the UK’s longest serving Chief Constable – taking up his position in June 2010 before his recent retirement.

Mr Cole was raised in a devout Christian family by his parents Mark and Barbara.

Mr Cole senior, who died in 2014 aged 73 and was a banker by profession, served more than 30 years in various lay capacities in the diocese of Chelmsford, the Colchester episcopal area, the Colchester deanery, and St Leonard’s, Lexden.

His roles included being on various diocese committees, serving as a lay preacher and singing with the Colchester Choral Society. 

For confidential support, call the Samaritans on 116 123 or visit samaritans.org 

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