independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Grieving dad shot daughter before taking his own life as he couldn't cope with partner's death

Archie McKelvie
Archie McKelvie

A father shot his daughter before taking his own life because he feared they could not cope with the death of her mother, an inquest has heard.

Pauline Barker, 56, was found drowned in the River Trent near Colwick, Nottingham, on April 15 2012.

An inquest into the three deaths, held in Nottingham, heard her former partner Archie McKelvie, 64, believed neither he nor their daughter Corrin Barker, 31, could cope with the loss.

Concluding the hearing today, Nottinghamshire coroner Mairin Casey told the inquest: "Archie formed the view that he could not cope or carry on alone. He worried that Corrin would not cope with the news of her mother's death.

"I find that he then planned in a pre-meditated way.

"He concluded that the best option, perhaps the only option, for him and for Corrin, was that he should end matters for both of them.

"At some time between April 25 and April 26 2012, Archie shot Corrin at close range in the back. It is highly unlikely that Corrin was aware of this plan.

"Archie then self discharged the firearm and took his own life".

The two-day inquest, which started on Wednesday, heard Pauline Barker had suffered from mental health problems.

Police could not initially identify her body when it was found in the river on April 15 2012 and issued an appeal for information.

The investigation led them to Mr McKelvie's home in North Road, West Bridgford, where they found him and Corrin, who had lived in the Edwalton area, dead in the kitchen from gunshot wounds on April 26.

A shotgun was recovered from the scene and a Home Office post-mortem examination revealed they had both died from gunshot wounds.

Tests also revealed Pauline Barker had died from drowning.

Nottinghamshire Police confirmed there was no third party involved in the deaths.

Giving evidence to the inquest today, Detective Chief Inspector Kate Meynell said: "It became clear early on in our investigation that there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the deaths.

"It became apparent Archie had taken Corrin's life and that no third party was involved."

When asked whether she thought the events could have been forseen, DCI Meynell said: "No, I don't think so".

The inquest heard that Pauline Barker, who lived in Lady Bay, was known to suffer from depression and that the family, although sociable, had kept their private lives to themselves.

The coroner said: "Pauline remained a private person throughout her life. If she was struggling she was not likely to share this with others".

She was treated by GPs and took medication but also developed her own way of coping with the depression by going away by herself to the coast, the hearing heard.

The inquest heard Mr McKelvie became increasingly concerned when he had not heard from Ms Barker in mid April 2012.

Ms Casey said he had a suspicion that she had taken her own life after he heard a body had been found in the Trent.

The coroner said: "He struggled to imagine life for Corrin and himself in her absence".

During the inquest, Mr McKelvie was described as a "loveable rogue" who was well-known in the local area.

He was a "gregarious and kind man" who lived life "on his own terms", the inquest heard.

The hearing was told he had no history of depression or mental health issues.

Ms Casey recorded that Ms Barker had committed suicide and, on hearing of her death, Mr McKelvie had unlawfully killed Corrin and subsequently taken his own life.

Following her conclusion, the coroner told family members who were in court today: "This I appreciate was extremely shocking news for you.

"News that would certainly have affected you deeply".

She said she hoped the hearing had given them answers as to why the "terrible tragedy" had occurred.

"What is unpredictable is unpreventable and this could not have been prevented," she told them.

In a statement issued through Nottinghamshire Police following the conclusion of the inquest, relatives of the family said their lives had been turned "upside down" by the deaths.

They said: "Our lives were turned upside down the moment we learned we had lost Pauline, Archie and Corrin. The last two years have been a distressing and confusing time, full of unanswered questions and much sorrow.

"We'd like to thank the police for keeping us up to date on the investigation as it progressed as well as their sensitive and unwavering support during this period.

"We now have some answers to the tragedy of what happened to our loved ones and ask that people respect our privacy so we can begin to move on from this ordeal."

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