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Affair with wealthy wife ended in marina suicide

AN UNEMPLOYED decorator who left his family for the wealthy wife of a businessman weighed himself down with bricks and jumped into a marina when the affair ended, an inquest was told yesterday.

It was the final act of an affair that began when Melvyn Parker, 41, painted the Surrey home of Margaret Austen, wife of Patrick Austen, chief executive of Liberty's store.

When Mrs Austen refused to leave her family, Mr Parker left his home in Guildford. Nine days later, he drowned in the marina at Brighton, East Sussex. The inquest, which recorded a suicide verdict, heard his body was found by divers searching for lobsters on 1 November this year.

After the hearing, Mr Parker's widow Patricia, 37, said she blamed Mrs Austen, 50, for driving her husband to suicide by ending their affair.

She added: 'To me, it seems as though he gave up everything for her and she gave nothing back.'