16th Jul, 2019

Inquest hears how council official and ailing wife killed themselves in suicide pact

Ian Hughes 10th Jun, 2017 Updated: 10th Jun, 2017

A SENIOR council official and his ailing wife suffocated themselves in a suicide pact, an inquest has heard

Sean Lawson, 50, and Mary, 63, were found dead in bed at their £500,000 detached Wiggins Close home after neighbours raised the alarm.

The hearing at Warwickshire Justice Centre in Leamington was also told Mr Lawson sent an email to police with a time delay – saying ‘apologies for this’, which arrived after they died.

Paramedics rushed to the property in the early hours of Sunday May 28 but they were pronounced dead – and the inquest heard that they died as a result of asphyxiation.

Det Insp Paul Thompson of Warwickshire Police told the inquest: “The deceased’s husband sent an email to police on May 27 at 6.58pm with a time delay.

“It said “apologies for this” and by the time it had arrived to police the deceased and her husband had passed over. Units were sent to the property at 1.35pm on May 28.

“The deceased and her husband would be in bed together. It looked as if they had supported and assisted one another.

“The deceased had been ill for 18 months with deep vein thrombosis which resulted in a stroke, debilitating systems in her left side.

“She could walk and her mental faculties were intact.

“As a result they were found deceased in bed with plastic bags over their heads and were pronounced dead by members of the ambulance service.

“A post-mortem examination conducted on Friday, June 2 reported death by asphyxiation.”

Adjourning the inquest until September, Warwickshire Coroner Sean McGovern said: “I offer my condolences to the family of Mr and Mrs Lawson.”

Mr Lawson, who worked as head of environment and public realm at Rugby Borough Council and chaired the local Safety Advisory Group, was described as a ‘pillar of the community’.

He had worked at the authority for 12 years, during which he oversaw major projects including the build and operation of the Rainsbrook Crematorium and the planting of the Diamond Wood, where he planted several trees in person.

Mrs Lawson, a former Canon of Leicester Cathedral, had suffered a stroke and needed a wheelchair.

She had also enjoyed a distinguished career, most recently as headmistress of Leicester’s first Hindu school.

It is believed the stroke, which she suffered on holiday two years ago, ended her career.

A family friend said Mrs Lawson’s condition had deteriorated in the weeks before her death, adding: “I don’t think they could bear to be without each other but Mary’s illness put a strain on them. She was really suffering.”

Police confirmed they were not looking for anyone in connection with the deaths.

For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit www.samaritans.org for further details.

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