A fire fighting company commander who was sacked last year after being accused of abusing a female employee was found dead on the roof of his house in Co Donegal.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said on Tuesday that the Danns fire fighting team leader was found at his home in St Mary’s Road, County Londonderry, with a gunshot wound to the chest and a suicide note, which was found by his family.
Mr Higgins had been the company commander since November 2014 and had been sacked after a series of complaints about inappropriate behaviour, including being given too many cigarettes, being asked to shower on the job and being sexually assaulted by the female fire fighter.
He was also accused of assaulting a female firefighting team member, who was later diagnosed with a concussion and later released.
He has been charged with three counts of assault causing actual bodily harm.
He appeared in court at the Co Doneghem District Court on Tuesday where he pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The IPCC said that the man, who is now aged in his 60s, had been “seriously mentally ill” for several years.
The court heard that in January 2018, he took his own life, at his own home, as a result of a number of personal factors.
The Dann and the Londonds are in Co Derry.
Mr Dann was also a member of the Ulster Volunteer Force.
Mr Justice Patrick O’Connor heard that Mr Higgins had a history of mental illness, with Mr Higgins having “recently been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and depressive disorder”.
He was arrested on the same day as Mr Higgins, who has not been charged.
Mr O’Sullivan heard that a letter had been found on the floor of the house that said “we were fired because you are a bully, a man who was always making fun of us”.
Mr Higgins was arrested and taken to County Derry Magistrates Court, where he was found guilty of all three charges.
He remains in custody pending a date for sentencing.
He will appear before the Derry Circuit Criminal Court in the city of Derry at the end of the month.