Death of GCHQ Cleaner Sparks Security Alert: Probable Suicide
Paragraphs 10 and 11 read: "In a statement, his GP, Dr Christopher Remfrey, said Mr Johnson had an anxious and depressive personality. He was on anti-depressant tablets and had been contact with a psychiatrist in 1994 with suicidal thoughts after the death of his grandfather."
"Dr Remfrey said his medication was due to be reveiwed after his consultation with a psychiatrist over his possible Asperger's. Mr Johnson died before this appointment could be made."
The death of a cleaner at the top secret GCHQ facility led to a security alert when police found several computer storage devices in his pockets.
Published: 1:07PM BST 27 Aug 2010
A general view of GCHQ in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire Photo: PA
Matthew Johnson, of Bay Tree Road, Abbeymead, Gloucester, who worked on the night cleaning shift at the top secret eavesdropping base in Cheltenham, was found dead in a river on April 30 this year.
His body was found floating in the canal behind the Cineworld cinema at St Ann's Way, Gloucester, on May 4, the inquest was told.
Fearing a security breach, officials analysed data contained in three computer USB sticks found on his body but discovered nothing untoward.
Mr Johnson was said to have been devastated about the death of his pet dog just four days earlier.
His mother, Pamela, said her bachelor son enjoyed gardening, nature, animals, foreign travel and astronomy she said in her statement. He had worked as a cleaner at GCHQ for about two-and-a-half years.
He had been devastated when Amy died on April 30 and he when he went to work that evening, he seemed "subdued and sad" said Mrs Johnson.
At around 10pm on Friday, May 3, he left the house, saying he was going to Tesco's. He was dressed in his motorcycle clothes, she said.
The following morning Mrs Johnson became concerned that her son had been involved in an accident and her daughter, Lucy, went to search for her brother.
In a statement, his GP, Dr Christopher Remfrey, said Mr Johnson had an anxious and depressive personality. He was on anti-depressant tablets and had been contact with a psychiatrist in 1994 with suicidal thoughts after the death of his grandfather.
Dr Remfrey said his medication was due to be reveiwed after his consultation with a psychiatrist over his possible Asperger's. Mr Johnson died before this appointment could be made.
Consultant pyschiatrist Dr Chikkanna Manju said he saw Mr Johnson earlier this year and he exhibited several of the symptoms to support a diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome.
Dr Manju said although Mr Johnson was shy and anxious, he showed no features of depression and there were no concerns about self-harm or harm to others.
Petrol tanker driver Nigel Fuller said he saw a motorcyclist park his bike next to the fuel depot office in Monk Meadow, Gloucester at around 6.30pm on April 30.
Mr Fuller said he saw the same motorcycle in the same place in the early hours of May 4 when he arrived to start his shift. The motorbike was still there as he came and went in the course of his duties during the morning.
Police discovered Mr Johnson's body in the canal behind the cinema and firefighters using specialist equipment recovered him from the water.
Detective Constable Dean Morse said that three USB computer storage sticks were found in his trouser pocket. These were analysed and the data revealed nothing untoward or any suicide note, he said.
A post mortem examination carried out by Dr John McCarthy revealed the cause of Mr Johnson's death as drowning.
Analysis of his blood and urine revealed the presence of an over-the-counter anti-histamine drug, a therapuetic level of anti-depression medicine and no alcohol.
Gloucestershire coroner Alan Crickmore said nobody saw whether Mr Johnson jumped into the canal or slipped and fell into the water.
On the evidence, Mr Crickmore said he could not say for certain that he took a deliberate action or that he intended to take his own life.
Neither could he say it was an accident. The evidence did not meet the standards required to prove an accident or suicide and in this case it was appropriate to record an Open verdict.