Suicide man 'feared wife poisoned him'

By Tony Gardner

A POLICE probe was launched after a man told his step-brother how he thought his wife was drugging him a month before he was found dead.

Paul Bennett, 36, told Andrew Batty how his marriage to Carol was on the verge of breaking up and that he thought she was putting drugs into his food.

Dead

Weeks later he was found dead on the sofa of his home in Normanton, surrounded by empty medication packets.

An inquest at Wakefield heard how detectives began an investigation after Mr Batty raised his concerns.

In a statement, read out a Wakefield Coroner’s Court, Mr Batty said that his step-brother had told him how he had intended to move out of the family home on Addison Avenue and had put his name down for a council house.

He said the marriage had broken down and Mr Bennett had become depressed due to Carol’s “appalling behaviour” in which she was accused of not paying the household bills and instead spending the money on her three daughters from a previous marriage.

The statement also alleged that she had twice kept money her husband had given her to pay for a holiday to India which led to the holiday company cancelling the trip.

A month before his death on November 9 Mr Bennett told his brother of his drugging fears

Mr Batty said: “During this time Paul said he was concerned that while he was at home with Carol and had a meal he would become drowsy.

“He suspected Carol was putting something in his food.”

But Det Sgt Karl Townsley, of Pontefract CID, told the court that there was no evidence to suggest Mr Bennett’s death was suspicious after a note was found beside his body matching his handwriting.

Illness

The court also heard how Mr Bennett had a history of psychiatric illness and made a similar attempt to take his own life four years earlier.

Pathologist Uma Raja said death was consistent with an overdose of psychiatric drugs.

In a statement, Mr Bennett’s wife said the couple had married in April 2003 and had enjoyed a loving relationship.

Mrs Bennett said that the day before her husband’s death they had gone shopping in Leeds and had bought a bottle of port and a bottle of brandy.

They spent the evening together watching television at home before Mrs Bennett had gone to bed.

She discovered his body on the sofa the next morning.

She said: “Paul was a loving and caring man who would do anything for anyone and I will not get over the loss of my husband.”

West Yorkshire coroner David Hinchliff recorded a verdict of suicide.

tony.gardnner@ypn.co.uk