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Saturday 18 November 2017

Mary Kennedy may have had last-minute change of mind on suicide

MOVED PLOT: Mary and
Robert Kennedy Jr
MOVED PLOT: Mary and Robert Kennedy Jr

orla healy in New York

Mary Kennedy, the estranged wife of Robert F Kennedy Jr who committed suicide on May 16, might have had a last-minute change of heart about killing herself, according to a disturbing analysis of her post-mortem report released late last week.

The harrowing suggestion that Mrs Kennedy, 52, who was found hanging in a barn on the family's Westchester, New York, estate, could have tried to loosen the noose around her neck is being made after notes and diagrams contained in the 11-page document show how her fingers were wedged between the hangman's knot and her neck at the time of her death.

"The fingers from both of (Mary's) hands were between the rope and the neck. The fingernails were cyanotic (blue) because of compression of the fingers, as they were between the rope and the neck," Westchester County Medical Examiner Dr Kunjlata Ashar confirmed in an email to the NY Daily News, cautioning such evidence could show the victim was attempting to prevent strangulation or that "she was trying to place the rope around her neck".

Describing the evidence as "extremely rare", NYC Medical Examiner Dr Shiya Ribowsky said: "It's impossible to tell. I have investigated many, many suicides by hanging and I've never seen that.

"If she had changed her mind but was already suspended, there would be more than enough pressure to kill her. And in a hanging, the person becomes unconscious within 15 seconds."

The post-mortem report, which also showed that Mary had three anti-depressants but no alcohol in her system at the time of death, wasn't the only macabre note.

It was also revealed that, 10 days ago, Mr Kennedy Jr quietly decided to have Mrs Kennedy's body exhumed from the Kennedy family burial plot in Hyannisport's St Francis Xavier Cemetery and moved 700 feet away to a remote, desolate hilltop, where she lies in an unmarked grave.

The move is being played by the New York press to suggest it was yet another callous act by the man many blame for Mrs Kennedy's death.

Gravedigger Frank Maki, who oversaw the plot switch, told the NY Daily News that Mr Kennedy Jr simply wanted his wife moved to the other end of the cemetery where his family are negotiating a deal to buy 50 plots.

"He (Robert) didn't realise how crowded the (original) area was until after the funeral, and he wanted to have the ability to lay his wife to rest among her family members," Mr Maki said.

"He opted for an area of the cemetery where there is room for future expansion."

The fact that Mrs Kennedy's siblings, who in the days after her death lost custody of her remains to Mr Kennedy Jr, were not told about the new location of the grave added to the disturbing undertones.

"We were not informed about it," a lawyer for the Richardson family said in a statement that prompted a fresh wave of animosity towards Mr Kennedy, who is suspected of being the source for a recent Newsweek story that painted a devastating picture of his late wife's problems with alcohol and drugs.

"And so control over Mary Kennedy, even in death, remains with the man who left her," opined a Boston Herald columnist on Friday, "not with the brothers and sisters who stood with her despite mental demons that led this mother of four, with kids age 11 to 17, to take her life."

Those children -- Conor, 18, Kyra, 17, William, 15, and 11-year-old Aiden -- will reportedly mark the two-month anniversary of their mother's death tomorrow with their father, who may have once again placed himself in the poor graces of Mrs Kennedy's friends by making a public appearance with his long-term girlfriend, actress Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm), at a Kennedy family wedding last weekend.

Sunday Independent

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