Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: UK diplomat was stressed before death

A diplomat was suffering with extreme stress while working for the government’s Covid taskforce before going missing and later being found dead in a forest, an inquest has heard. The body of 52-year-old Richard Morris was discovered near his home in Bentley, Hampshire, in August 2020. His wife told an inquest in Winchester that working on the taskforce was “the most stressful job he had ever done”. She added he was “totally unprotected” from the demands of the work. (https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-hampshire-60380118) The coroner’s court heard Mr Morris, a former ambassador to Nepal, worked long hours under high pressure helping to coordinate briefings to ministers during the first wave of coronavirus. Mrs Morris said her husband feared there was not enough time to process information in the fast-moving period and if any error got past him the government “would be torn apart in the press”. As a result, he was “desperate” to keep on top of what was going on, working every day with “no real time off”, she said. Mr Morris was last seen running near his home on 6 May 2020 and his body was found three months later in Alice Holt Forest.

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