Praise for mental health services who supported man before he killed wife then himself

Emergency services at the Parkway multi-storey car park in Bury St Edmunds. ANL-141113-125055001
Emergency services at the Parkway multi-storey car park in Bury St Edmunds. ANL-141113-125055001

Just eight days after seeking help for suicidal thoughts a Long Melford man murdered his wife before jumping from Bury St Edmunds’ Parkway multi-storey car park to his death, an inquest heard.

The 37-year-old man’s sister praised mental health services in West Suffolk for doing ‘what they could’ to help him prior to the tragedy on November 13 last year.

An inquest on Wednesday heard the man sought out his estranged wife, 39, at her home and brutally attacked her with an axe before driving to the car park and jumping from the roof.

It was revealed the man, who had previously suffered from depression and anxiety, visited the Wedgwood Centre on November 5. He was prescribed medication and had follow-up appointments with the home support team.

DCI Eammon Bridger, senior investigating officer in the case, said ‘therapeutic levels’ of medication ‘consistent with his condition’ were present in the man’s body at the time of his death.

Paying tribute to her brother, the dead man’s sister said: “He was a kind, honest, hard working, loving man. We hope he will be remembered for the man he was, and not for his actions on one day.

“I don’t want the staff at the mental health trust to be blamed. I believe they did what they could with the information they had.”

The inquest heard that the couple married in 1998, but over several years their relationship had deteriorated and they separated in 2013.

The man’s wife had left the area in October 2013 before returning last October. His sister said her brother had ‘settled down’ when she left, but become ‘anxious’ after her return.

DCI Bridger, who repeatedly described their separation as ‘acrimonious’, said that the man had mentioned to a family member on November 11 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.

Jane Sayer, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust’s director of nursing, quality and patient safety, said: “We were reassured to hear the family praise the care received by this individual from our staff and services, who maintained regular contact with him until his death.

“We have met with the family to offer our condolences and support, and our thoughts remain with both them and family friends at this distressing time.”

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