Horror death of wife

A FORESTRY worker stabbed his wife with a home-made spear and hit her with a hammer before hanging himself above her body, an inquest heard.

The bodies of Duncan Bartholomew and his wife Susan, who were married for 14 years, were found in their home at North Moor Cottages, Wykeham, on January 14.

An inquest into their deaths heard Mrs Bartholomew told her family she was leaving her husband. On the day she planned to leave she asked them to phone her to make sure she was safe. But her husband had killed her.

Home Office consultant pathologist Dr Peter Cooper, said Mrs Bartholomew had been attacked firstly by an old, home-made spear, which was found in the house, and then by a hammer. Either attack would have been fatal.

Mr Bartholomew had alcohol and anti-depressants in his system, he said.

Forensic scientist Gillian Leek said Mrs Bartholomew said an argument had taken place in the kitchen and lounge of the couple's home.

In a written statement read to the court, Ms Leek said someone had tried to use the phone during the argument.

Mrs Bartholomew was knocked to the floor. Her husband then stabbed her, hit her a number of times with a hammer, smoked a cigarette and then hanged himself from a rope above her feet.

Mrs Bartholomew's brother, Peter Webster, of Bankside, Eastfield, said his sister had been staying at his home in the days leading up to her death. On the day of her death she went to talk to her husband about why she was leaving.

Mr Webster said: "She asked me to phone at 8.30pm. But when I rang there was no answer."

Mrs Bartholomew's other brother, Terry Webster, of Seamer Road, worked with Mr Bartholomew. He told the inquest that his sister's relationship with her husband had not been violent, but he had forced her to have sex.

He said: "It was like a jail for her."

Coroner Michael Oakley recorded a verdict of unlawful killing of Mrs Bartholomew. He recorded a verdict that Mr Bartholomew killed himself.