Tragedy of triple suicide family

Last updated at 12:37 31 March 2006

A couple killed themselves within hours of hearing of their only son's suicide because they could not face life without him, an inquest heard today.

Robert and Mary Powell, both 57, of Llandeilo, west Wales, were found dead the day after police informed them that their 27-year-old son Neil had hanged himself in a field.

Philip Walters, Coroner for Bridgend and Glamorgan Valleys, recorded a verdict of suicide for Mr and Mrs Powell and their son.

Mr Walters said: "I have been in the (coroner's) service for 30 years and this is as tragic a family case I have ever dealt with."

The triple inquest at Merthyr Tydfil Magistrates' Court heard Neil Powell had not been himself since quitting his job at Logica in St Mellons, Cardiff, 18 months before his death.

Mr Powell, of Broadlands, Bridgend, remained unemployed until he was found hanging in a farmer's field in nearby Llangynwyd, at around 1.30pm on July 14 last year.

Pc Nicola Willey of South Wales Police was called upon to investigate the grim discovery and noted that in addition to the ligature around Mr Powell's neck there was a rope attached to a branch of the tree.

She concluded Mr Powell had used this to climb up the tree before taking his life.

A post-mortem revealed Mr Powell had been drinking that day and was just under twice the legal limit for driving.

Coroner Philip Walters said the alcohol Mr Powell had consumed would have affected his judgment but did not explain why he had killed himself.

In recording a verdict of suicide by hanging, he said: "This is, I regret to say, another one I have had to deal with where I can find no answer other than problems generally.

"Since Mr Powell finished work, he wasn't the man he used to be.

"There are no notes and no communications with friends or anything to suggest in the events surrounding his death that he was going to take this course of action but clearly he has."

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