The death of campaigner and public activist Robert Pickthall

robert pickthall cwac

UPDATE: 17th July 2021

More on the alleged ‘suicide’ death of Robert Pickthall

We’re told by the police, the courts and the newspapers that Northwich resident Robert Pickthall died on 30th  July 2019 when he committed suicide at Acton Bridge Railway Station, A

cton Bridge, near Northwich, Cheshire.


But campaigners are concerned that the public are being lied to.


Some years ago – back in March 2014 – an email arrived here from Robert Pickthall…


4 Mar 2014, 08:40

to info
Hi thanks for coming back to me.
My name is Robert Pickthall and I have a webstite  which will provide you some idea of what I am about.
Can you tell me if you know/know of a chap named xxxxxxxxxx Cwac FOI officer. If you do are you able to confirm if he is the same xxxxxxxxx ex Chief Inspector Cheshire Police ?
I have received several emails confirming xxxxxxxxx to be permitted to resign from the Police sooner than be formally investigated. Clearly I need to tread carefully here.
Cut a very long story short I came by over 100 Cwac internal emails some proving xxxxxxxx, xxxxxxx and other officers had come together to stop my research how Weaver Vale Housing Trust Ltd came to own protected lands at Davenham and at no cost. Cwac ordered my research stopped and did so by refusing me access to Cheshire Archive – refusing my FOI requests and instructing all officer’s and or Cllr to meet or speak with me. If you go to my web site and on the home page under the Header “CWAC REVIEW” you will get a better understanding.
Any help you might give me would be in confidence and ever gratefully received.
Bob Pickthall


The Wayback Machine provides (limited) access to Robert Pickthall’s now non-functioning website here:

Since around 2010, he’d been having trouble with Cheshire West & Chester Council, a relatively new local authority which had come into existence in 2008 following the splitting into two of the much larger Cheshire County Council.

As readers will be aware, we worked at Cheshire County Council for four years and Cheshire West & Chester Council for one year between 2004 and 2009, but left after lodging an internal complaint – a relatively minor one – which was never addressed properly by the council and remains unresolved to this day.

Our victory in this dispute and eventual departure in the autumn of 2009 allowed the misconduct of senior officers (and the complaint itself) to be forgotten in its entirety and swept under the carpet.

The Council was – and probably still remains – a corporate basket case, not capable of dealing with internal and external disputes in an open, transparent and even-handed manner, and has historically been seeking to scapegoat internal complainants, whistleblowers and members of the public rather than discharge its public function correctly.

This path of least resistance is always taken because to the forefront of the authority’s agenda is its reputation, which in councillors’ and senior officers’ eyes always needs to be publicly presented as dignified, professional and spotless, no matter what.

A telling similarity between Robert Pickthall’s case and our own is that we were both banned from exercising our statutory public querying and access rights. In our case, this covered Freedom of Information and Personal Data across all UK public authorities, completely and in perpetuity. We dealt with that here.

In Robert’s case, he was barred from accessing and querying Cheshire West’s planning archive.

In both cases, the question arises, “What on earth have they got to hide?”

…to be continued.



About Wirral In It Together

Campaigner for open government. Wants senior public servants to be honest and courageous. It IS possible!
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5 Responses to The death of campaigner and public activist Robert Pickthall

  1. Sheila Oliver says:

    May I put this on my blog?

    Kind regards



  2. Bobby47 says:

    Very good work Paul. Well done.


  3. Pingback: The tragic and curious death of Robert Pickthall. Was it suicide or murder? | Wirral In It Together

  4. alan m Dransfield says:

    I guess we will never know the truth about Rob Pickthall’s death but the very morning of his death he was due in court in Chester to answer further questions about THOUSANDS of email from RP to CWAC. The truth of the matter was the THOUSANDS of purported emails was factually incorrect.More importantly CWAC had been instructed to release personal date to RP which,in essence proved without a shadow of doubt RP had not sent thousands of emails. The ICO had instructed CWAC to release all such emails.????


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