Man murdered wife with axe before taking his own life, inquest hears

Tributes left at the Parkway multi-storey car park in Bury St Edmunds ANL-141118-094130001
Tributes left at the Parkway multi-storey car park in Bury St Edmunds ANL-141118-094130001
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A Long Melford man who murdered his wife before killing himself by jumping from a multi-storey car park in Bury St Edmunds had previously suffered from suicidal thoughts, an inquest heard.

The 37-year-old man, and his estranged 39-year-old wife - who cannot be named for legal reasons - died on November 13 last year.

An inquest in Ipswich today (Wednesday) heard the man had sought help for depression and anxiety earlier that month and was receiving treatment for his illness.

Paying tribute to him during the inquest, his sister said: “He was a kind, honest, hard working, loving man. He was a sensitive person who so often did things for others. We hope he will be remembered for the man he was, and not for his actions on one day.”

Giving evidence, DCI Eammon Bridger, the senior investigating officer in the case, told the inquest that witnesses reported seeing both the couple prior to 11.30am, with one woman saying she saw someone she believed to be the wife looking ‘spaced out’ and ‘unsteady on her feet’.

DCI Bridger said the man left his business at 11.36am and attended his wife’s home address where attacked her with a hand axe, knocking her unconscious and repeatedly striking her.

He then drove to the multi-storey car park, in Parkway, where he jumped from the roof to his death.

Police and paramedics attended the scene at around 12.15pm and attempted to resuscitate the man, but he was pronounced dead around half an hour later.

DCI Bridger said officers discovered the man’s car on the car park’s top level, with a bloodied hand axe inside.

Enquiries led them to his wife’s address, where they discovered her body in the heavily blood-stained kitchen at around 2.30pm.

DCI Bridger said a postmortem examination showed the woman died through ‘wounds to her head, neck and face’, with no defensive injuries and ‘no suggestion of a particular struggle’.

Forensic examinations revealed the blood on the axe discovered in the man’s car belonged to his wife, with her husband’s DNA found on the weapon’s handle.

The blood stains on the axe and the man’s shoes and clothes indicated she had been struck ‘more than once’ and was on the ground for part of the attack.

The postmortem found ‘therapeutic levels’ of medication in the man’s body and traces of cannabis, cocaine and diazepam in his wife’s, but concluded that neither was intoxicated.

The inquest heard that the woman, had left the area in October 2013 before returning last October.

The man’s sister said her brother had ‘settled down’ after her departure but became ‘anxious’ when she returned.

DCI Bridger said the man had mentioned to a family member that he thought killing his wife was ‘the only way out’, but he ‘wouldn’t have been able to live with himself’ if he had done it.

The inquest heard that following suicidal thoughts, the man went to the Wedgewood Unit on November 5, 2014.

He was prescribed medication and had follow-up appointment with the unit’s home support team.

In conclusion DCI Bridger said there was ‘no evidence of third party involvement’ in the man’s death, and no evidence that ‘anyone other than the man was involved in the killing of his wife’.

“There is evidence that prior to taking his own life he unlawfully killed his wife,” said DCI Bridger.

Yvonne Blake, assistant Suffolk Coroner, reported conclusions that the man had killed himself and that his wife was unlawfully killed.

Reporting her conclusions, she said: “There is sufficient evidence that this man intended to kill himself. He would have understood the consequence of what he was doing.

“In the case of his wife, the only conclusion I can possibly come to is that she was unlawfully killed.”

During the inquest the dead man’s sister expressed thanks to the staff at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, who she believed ‘did what they could’ to help her brother through his mental health problems.