Man, 71, strangled his wife

Whiteside Avenue

Whiteside Avenue

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A PENSIONER with a history of mental health problems is believed to have murdered his wife before hanging himself.

John Darbyshire, known as Jack, and his wife of 50 years, Jean, were found dead at their Hindley home, after their son was forced to break in.

David Darbyshire had become worried after not hearing from his mother, an inquest in Bolton heard.

He found his mother and father dead at their home in Whiteside Avenue.

A pathologist has estimated that they had been dead for around two days.

Mr Darbyshire, who also lives in Hindley, told the inquest how he had to force entry into his parents’ home on September 10, 2009, after both he and social services had not heard from them.

On the first day of the week-long hearing, the court heard how Mr Darbyshire found his 70-year-old mother Jean dead in the living room. He then found his 71-year-old father John hanged in the garage of their bungalow.

The court heard how John Darbyshire had a history of mental health problems, and that his wife suffered from dementia.

David Darbyshire said that his mother and father had begun living together again, only months before their deaths, after they had both spent time in care because of their illnesses.

Mr Darbyshire said he was on bad terms with his father for many years, but was still very close to his mother and was concerned for her safety.

He told the court that in September 2008, his mother had turned up at his home on Ladies Lane, Hindley, after she had an argument with his father.

On one occasion, his father was arrested for assault after he pushed and punched his wife. Soon after, Mrs Darbyshire was taken into care by social services, and spent a few months in the Lakeland Residential Home, in Ince. At around the same time, Mr Darbyshire was admitted to the Holdenbrook Ward at Leigh Infirmary.

However, in March 2009, both were back at their home and, despite concerns raised by David and other family members, the pair lived there until their deaths.

Consultant forensic pathologist Dr Naomi Carter told the hearing she believed it was likely that Mr Darbyshire strangled Mrs Darbyshire with a ligature before hanging himself.

She said that she thought they had been dead for up to two days before they were found.

Five days earlier, David Darbyshire had visited their home but got no answer. He told the court that this was not unusual so he was not too concerned.

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