Husband killed wife and himself after receiving note saying she was having an affair, inquest told

Sarah and Richard Pitkin
Sarah and Richard Pitkin

A husband fatally stabbed his wife and then hanged himself after receiving an anonymous note saying she was having an affair, an inquest heard today.

Richard Pitkin, 65, killed his wife of 37 years Sarah Pitkin, 58, in their marital bedroom after receiving an anonymous letter stating she had been seeing another man.

Suffolk coroner Peter Dean ruled she was unlawfully killed and he took his own life after three notes written by the carpenter were found at their family home on February 26.

The inquest in Ipswich attended by about a dozen members of the tragic couple’s family heard Mr Pitkin asked his son Tommy to ‘make himself scarce’ as Mrs Pitkin arrived at the house in Stowmarket at 11.40am.

Tommy Pitkin, one of their four children, called the police two hours later after finding a suicide note pinned on the outside door of his parents’ bedroom on the first floor.

The couple separated following the note but his wife returned to the former marital home for some reason before she was unlawfully killed, the inquest heard.

Detective Superintendent David Cutler said: “In late January an anonymous note was delivered through the family door alerting to Sarah having an affair with a local male and following the receipt of this note Sarah made the decision to separate from Richard and went to live with her mother.

“In the months preceding the deaths, Sarah had been in a relationship with this man.”

Mr and Mrs Pitkin were found dead in their bedroom.

He added that there was some evidence of Richard being ‘abusive’ to Sarah but ‘inconsistencies’ in accounts from the pair’s family members.

The detective told the inquest two identical suicide notes written by Mr Pitkin for Tommy Pitkin to find were found on the bedroom door and the study.

Forensic analysis found Mr Pitkin had been searching the terms ‘depression’ and ‘suicide’ on his computer four days before the deaths.

The coroner said: “It is difficult to envisage a more tragic situation than this.

“There seems to be nothing that would have alerted anybody, close family members or otherwise.”