A FATHER who mistakenly believed his wife was having an affair killed her and their two ‘treasured’ children before jumping from the cliff-top where he had proposed 17 years earlier, an inquest has heard.
Paul Newman, 42, hit Geraldine Newman over the head with a hammer before stabbing 11-year-old Shannon and six-year-old Shane at their home in Allerton Bywater, West Yorkshire, in 2016.
He left his children underneath a duvet, with religious artefacts placed on top, before travelling to Holyhead in Anglesey, where he jumped 240ft to his death from a cliff wearing only his underwear and socks.
An inquest into the deaths at Wakefield Coroner’s Court heard that the couple had reunited after Newman served a jail sentence for a two-day assault on his wife in 2013.
But the marriage was said to be ‘deteriorating’ at the time of the incident in February 2016 and Mrs Newman had sent a text message to a family member in the weeks leading up to her death saying that she was ‘terrified’ of her husband.
Newman’s sister Rita Farley told the inquest that her brother as not a violent man until he saw text messages from other men on his wife’s phone, although the inquest was told that there was no evidence that Mrs Newman, 51, had carried out a physical affair.
Richard Smith, who was a Det Sgt with West Yorkshire Police at the time, said Mrs Newman and her children were found dead in their home on February 2 2016.
He said: ‘At the scene of the family home, the body of Geraldine Newman was found in the living room downstairs. She was laid on the sofa with a duvet or blanket covering her. [The children] were found in the bedroom. They were covered with a duvet. They had been stabbed several times. On top of the duvet was a toy, a tiger, a statue of Jesus and two crosses.’
Mrs Newman had suffered at least three blows to her head with the hammer, while the children had multiple stab wounds to their necks and chests.
The inquest heard that Newman had left a three-page letter in the kitchen in which he used the expression ‘I’m sorry’ but did not admit that he had killed his family.
Mr Newman’s body was later found at the foot of South Stack cliff, where Mrs Farley said her brother had proposed to Mrs Newman on Christmas Day 17 years previously.
The coroner, who described the deaths as an ‘enormous tragedy’, said: ‘One can only lament that, had he voiced the demons in his mind, that might have precipitated some change.
‘Anyone probing dark thoughts or feeling overwhelmed should tell someone about the problem and seek help.’