AN ANGRY family have attacked the education author-ity's handling of the suspension of a school care worker who killed himself fearing he was being accused of child abuse.
Lee Baines said his father, David, would still be alive if his suspension had been dealt with in a 'more professional and sympathetic way.'
As the four-day inquest ended into the death of David Anthony Baines, 57, from Rhosrobin, Wrexham, North East Wales coroner John Hughes said the education authority had got the balance wrong between protecting children and the rights of an employee.
The coroner is to write to both Wrexham Borough Council and the Welsh Assembly, highlighting the shortcomings of how the suspension was handled.
Mr Hughes said Mr Baines could have been told more about the reasons for his suspension - that it did not involve child abuse - without prejudicing investigations.
He will also suggest Wrexham council have a more 'structured' approach to suspensions where meticulous minutes are kept of what is said at hearings.
Mr Baines was found by his wife Jacqueline, in October 2003, in a fume-filled car in the garage of their home the day after he had been suspended as a care worker in St Chris-topher's special school, Wrexham.
He had received 159 calls from a 14-year-old boy in a secure unit, a former St Christopher's pupil he had worked with.
A multi-agency committee of police, social services, health and education officials felt the transcripts of the recorded calls were 'in-appropriate' and breached confidentiality rules. The committee was also incorrectly told a police national computer check revealed Mr Baines had a criminal record, when it was the record of a different David Anthony Baines.
After the decision was taken to suspend him the authority took the view they had to limit what they told Mr Baines in case it prejudiced further investigations.
Outside the Flint inquest Lee Baines said: 'The death of my father was a terrible tragedy and our family feel very angry that he took his life because he was never told at the suspension hearing anything about the reasons for his suspension.
'Our family firmly believe he would still be alive today if his suspension had been conducted in a more professional and sympathetic way.'
Mr Hughes said: 'I have profound concern about the management of the case?'
He said not telling people anything was not 'striking an appropriate balance.'
'There could be no prejudice to tell Mr Baines there were no criminal allegations against him.'
Wrexham County Borough Council's Strategic Director Terry Garner said: 'Wrexham County Borough Council would like to offer its heartfelt condolences to Mr Baines' wife and family. That Mr Baines took his own life was a tragic and completely unfore-seen outcome.
'Wrexham County Borough Council has well-established and carefully formulated procedures governing the suspension of members of staff where it is judged necessary to do so. Those procedures emphasise that suspension is a neutral act and not a disciplinary penalty.
'The County Borough Council will, of course take careful note of the coroner's comments.'
* DAVID Baines was let down by the police, his employers and social services, all of whom acted hastily and made serious errors of judgement.
That's the view of FACT, Falsely Accused Carers and Teachers.
Spokesman Michael Barnes said: 'He would not have died had the proper procedures and safeguards been followed and the necessary support systems been in place.
'His employers must have known the impact that suspension would have on a caring and sensitive man.
'By not following sensible procedures they have shown a callous disregard for human life.
'FACT calls on the Welsh Assembly and Wrexham council to launch an immediate inquiry into the events concerning Mr Baines' suspension.'