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Husband helped wife end her life in act of love, inquest hears

PUBLISHED: 13:24 17 October 2018 | UPDATED: 11:47 18 October 2018

Mrs Taylor died at her home in Birds Green, Rattlesden Picture: ARCHANT

Mrs Taylor died at her home in Birds Green, Rattlesden Picture: ARCHANT


A husband assisted his wife in taking her own life at their home in Rattlesden in an act of love, an inquest has heard.

Beryl Taylor, 70, known as Mary, died on July 11 at her home in Birds Green.

An inquest on Wednesday, October 17 heard Mrs Taylor suffered a range of medical conditions including fibromyalgia, severe allergies, migraines and pancreatic problems and had wanted her life to end.

Assistant coroner Kevin McCarthy said the couple had recorded Mrs Taylor’s last moments on camera, including a statement read out before she took her life, which her husband Ian presented to police on their arrival.

Mr McCarthy said her husband had become her nurse and carer over the years often ‘to the detriment of his own health’.

He said Mr and Mrs Taylor, who had two daughters, had a “very loving and stable relationship that has passed the test of time”.

Detective Sergeant Michael Gwyn recalled how police officers arrived at 12.20pm and were given a do not resuscitate notice by Mr Taylor.

“He described the incident had been recorded on camera and provided police with the camera,” DS Gwyn added.
“Because of the evidence that was seen on the camera, Mr Taylor made it clear he knew his wife intended to take her life and had to some extent facilitated that.

“He was arrested on suspicion of assisted suicide then on reviewing the camera evidence he was arrested on suspicion of murder.”

DS Gwyn added: “Mary’s life and quality of life had declined significantly over the years.

“I think it is fair to say between Mr Taylor and Mary there had been several avenues of suicide considered prior to the situation where the police became involved.”

DS Gwyn said Mr Taylor had been entirely open with police about what had happened.

“In my mind he has done everything to be open and transparent to us,” he said.

Mr McCarthy said the prosecution was eventually dropped as the Crown Prosecution Service deemed it would not to be in the public interest to proceed.

A post mortem examination revealed the cause of death was asphyxiation by gas inhalation.

The inquest heard Mrs Taylor had read a statement into the camera before taking her own life.

Mr McCarthy said: “It makes clear to me that she has reached the decision to end her life and because of her disabilities, which were quite profound, she needed some help so, like any wife would, she looked first to her husband of many years.”

“This is a woman who has reached the state in her existence where her quality of life is non-existent and she had decided life was not worth living.

“Any actions of Mr Taylor I am convinced were because of love and no other motive.”

The coroner made a legal conclusion of suicide and that she had made the decision of her own free will.

If you have been affected by the issues raised in this story the Samaritans are there for support on 116 123. The charity are available around the clock, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Calls to this number are free of charge.

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