Suffolk: Tributes paid to tragic Suffolk County Council boss found dead in woodland

SUFFOLK: Colleagues of a senior council official found dead in woodland today paid tribute to a “friendly and amenable” man.

Suffolk County Council chief executive Andrea Hill broke the news to thousands of staff that interim head of legal services, David White, had died suddenly.

Mr White, who was in his 50s, had worked for the county council for more than 20 years.

His body was found in Butley Woods, near Woodbridge, on Monday evening after concerned family members contacted police.

In a statement sent out to staff via e-mail, Mrs Hill said it was with “deep regret” that she must inform them of Mr White’s death.

She said: “We have been in touch with Suffolk Police who have confirmed a sudden death without suspicious circumstances, believed to be suicide.

“David had been with Suffolk County Council for 21 years and this will be a very difficult time for many people across the organisation, not least those who worked most closely with David.”

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Mrs Hill said it would be particularly difficult for staff in the Customer Service Direct department, where Mr White’s wife, Susan, worked.

“We have very little information about what actually happened or why and I have shared with you everything we know.”

Mrs Hill said Tim Ryder would step into the interim monitoring officer role, a position Mr White had been covering following the early retirement of Eric Whitfield last week. She said David Holt would help with team management.

She added: “I am so sorry that this is such a shock to us all. Our thoughts are with David’s family and friends at this time.”

Bryony Rudkin, deputy leader of the council’s Labour group, said she was “very sorry” to hear the tragic news.

She said: “I worked with him over many years and always found him to be friendly and amenable. He was a lawyer who wanted to help you to do things rather than be obstructive.

“I’m sure staff at all levels will be feeling this loss keenly.”

Sally Marlow, Suffolk County Council’s head of human resources, said: “Our thoughts are with David’s family and friends at this difficult time.”

A spokesman for Suffolk Constabulary said: “Police were contacted at 6pm on Monday following concerns from a woman about the welfare of a man from the Ipswich area.

“Officers found the body of a man in his 50s in woodland, near Butley, at 7.30pm. The death is not being treated as suspicious.”

A former colleague of Mr White said: “He was one of the most genuine, helpful colleagues I have ever worked with and I am devastated by the news of this tragedy.

“He was so helpful and courteous. This is a terrific shock and the council will be stunned.”

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