'Outstanding' Tesco worker killed himself after getting sacked for chasing shoplifter

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Shaun Winstanley

TOP EMPLOYEE: Shaun Winstanley had won awards at the supermarket giant (Pic: SWNS)

Shaun Winstanley, 49, had worked at the supermarket giant for nearly two decades and won several awards including Years of Outstanding Service.

However, the dad-of-three, from Staining near Blackpool, Lancs., was dismissed as customer assistant at Tesco Express after chasing a shoplifter on January 2. 

Bosses claim he put himself and a customer in danger with “unreasonable behaviour”.

Shaun later confided in a friend that he was having suicidal thoughts following his dismissal and losing an appeal. 

Cops found him dead at home after suffocating himself on February 13. 

Shaun Winstanley

TROUBLED: He had a history of mental health problems (Pic: SWNS)

Shaun had a history of mental health problems which fell into turmoil after he was held at gunpoint during a robbery in May last year, an inquest at Blackpool Town Hall heard. 

His daughter Siobhan Winstanley said afterwards: “He was of the very strong opinion that (suicide) was a selfish thing to do, so obviously it’s not something he would have done lightly, knowing he had children.

“It’s not something that’s actually sunk in. We feel maybe if we go into the Highfield Road shop he’s going to be there. But he’s not going to be there, because he’s not here any more.

“I am angry at Tesco. We have got our father in an urn in our living room.

“I sit there every morning with my coffee and look at him and wonder maybe if things had been different he would still be here.

“I think there needs to be an awareness of mental health and I think employers need to be doing right by their employees.

Shaun Winstanley

TRAGEDY: Police found Shaun dead at his home on February 13 (Pic: SWNS)

“Seventeen years he gave them and when he needed them most they let him down.”

Shaun Winstanley’s daughter Siobhan

“I could try to take them (Tesco) 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.

“Seventeen years he gave them and when he needed them most they let him down.

“After 17 years, they sent him off without even a ‘bye’.”

Siobhan said her dad was offered five counselling sessions following the traumatic armed robbery in May last year, but his mental health soon deteriorated.

He was transferred from the Highfield Road Tesco Express – where the robbery took place – to shops in Bispham and Poulton.

However, he was not initially offered any time off work and was disciplined for missing three shifts following the crime, Siobhan claims. 

Coroner Clare Doherty recorded a conclusion of suicide.

She told the inquest: “A friend spoke with Mr Winstanley on February 8 and he expressed thoughts of self-harm.

“It seems to tie in with the fact that he had appealed the loss of his job and he had not been successful in that appeal on that day.

“It was apparent that his employment was not going to be restored and he was devastated by that.

A spokesman for Tesco said: “The welfare and safety of our colleagues is of utmost importance to us and we were extremely sad to hear about the death of Mr Winstanley.

“Unfortunately, we are unable to comment on individual circumstances relating to our colleagues.”

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