Jilted wife was urged to kill herself, court told

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The Independent Online

A woman accused of murdering her husband's mistress said yesterday he had encouraged her to commit suicide after she learnt of the affair.

A woman accused of murdering her husband's mistress said yesterday he had encouraged her to commit suicide after she learnt of the affair.

Rena Salmon, 43, tried to kill herself twice and had threatened to kill her two children in a suicide pact, with hot chocolate spiked with morphine, she said. Her first attempt failed after her husband, Paul, called an ambulance.

But Paul Salmon continued to torment her about his affair with her friend, Lorne Stewart, 36, who had a beauty salon in Chiswick, south-west London, she said. "He told me he had made a lot of mistakes in his life but the biggest was calling the paramedics. I started to cry and he said he could see the pain I was in and he would look after the kids and I would be better off if I did it again.

"He said, 'Will you promise me?' I said, 'Yes, I promise I will do it today'. He asked me if I had the medication and he asked me for a key to the house so he could get in when he came back with the kids.

"He ... said to me, 'Are you definitely going to do it?' I said, 'Yeah'. He said, 'Goodbye then, because I will never see you alive again'. Then he drove off with the kids."

Mrs Salmon wept as she told the Old Bailey she had not meant to harm Ms Stewart. As she lay dying, Mrs Salmon said, she squeezed her hand and talked to her. She described a dream, which had haunted her since. "I see me talking to Lorna," she said. "I am sitting with her and we are laughing, sitting in the garden drinking Pimm's, with the kids running round. Then there is a scream. Lorna is lying there on the floor."

Mrs Salmon, of Great Shefford, Berkshire, said she had taken the double-barrelled shotgun, a birthday present to her husband, and driven to Ms Stewart's salon. She was surprised when Ms Stewart said: "Hello, Rena". She added: "It was not what I was expecting or what was going round in my head. I thought she would be scared. She knew what she had done to me.

"I was standing there with a shotgun. I thought she would try [to] pacify me and we could work it out and she would give Paul up. She did not. She said, 'You have come to shoot me'. I just said, 'Yes'. I do not know why or what I was thinking. I was somewhere else in my head. "She ... said 'I have got nothing to say to you that is going to make you change your mind, so do it, go on, do it'. I pulled the trigger. I was expecting that to be it. I was not meant to be there. It was, like, all in slow motion. She started to fall over and pull herself on the floor. I said, 'Oh my God' and stepped to see if she was all right.

"I needed to put the gun down and put the safety catch on. I flicked the switch and clipped the trigger and the gun went off again. I dropped it on the floor. I looked down at her and was holding her hand. She was not meant to get hurt."

Her counsel, Patrick Curran QC, said medical evidence would show Mrs Salmon had an abnormality of mind that had substantially diminished her mental responsibility.

The trial continues.