Murder-suicide pact during row over death of beloved pet dog death
Published 02/11/2011 | 16:26
A RETIRED company director is believed to have killed his ex-wife and then hanged himself during a row after her beloved pet dog died, an inquest heard today.
Donald and Audrey Taylor had been married to each other twice and divorced each other twice, and "couldn't live with one another, but couldn't live without one another", their daughter Karen Melhuish said.
A coroner recorded verdicts of unlawful killing and suicide after hearing details of how the couple's bodies were found in their former marital home in Collington Rise, Bexhill-on-sea, East Sussex, on February 16.
The inquest at Hastings Magistrates' Court heard that post-mortem examinations found Mrs Taylor, 75, received two blows to her head but died from strangulation while Mr Taylor, 80, died from hanging.
Mrs Melhuish told the inquest that her parents, who married for a second time in 2005 before divorcing again in April last year, had a "volatile" relationship, with her father being very controlling of her mother.
Former sales consultant Mrs Taylor had kept her own home in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, since their first divorce, but appeared to have moved back in with Mr Taylor in September last year.
Mrs Melhuish said she did not see her mother after this time as she did not get on with her father so was never invited to the house in Bexhill, and both of them were "very private" and did not confide their feelings in her.
She said that although no one knew for certain why their final row had resulted in such tragic consequences, she believed the fact that forensic tests on Rowan the dog could not find a cause of death meant that it must have died of natural causes, which would have led to her mother becoming "distraught" and "emotional".
She told the inquest: "I think he would have taken whatever she said personally, which would have lit the fuse and then he would have just exploded with rage.
"I believe that in that single second of anger he lost control, which would have culminated in the circumstances that unfolded.
"And then it would have been a case of remorse."
She said her father would never have gone to police and told them what he had done, but instead would have ended his own life to retain control to the end.