Train suicide of couple facing £1.5m fraud case

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The Independent Online

A married couple committed suicide in front of a high-speed train after being charged with a £1.5m fraud to fund the wife's failing horseracing business, an inquest heard yesterday.

A married couple committed suicide in front of a high-speed train after being charged with a £1.5m fraud to fund the wife's failing horseracing business, an inquest heard yesterday.

Henry Yearley, 62, and his wife, Eleanor, 56, who was known as Anne, hugged each other as they stood in front of the London to Peterborough express at Arlesey, Bedfordshire, on 25 June.

The inquest in Bedford was told that Mr and Mrs Yearley were both facing theft, false accounting and money laundering charges after almost £1.5m was stolen from Specialist Cars in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, where Mr Yearley worked as a financial controller.

The money was stolen over a four-year period, the inquest heard, to finance Mrs Yearley's love of horse races and her ailing business. The couple had been due at the magistrates' court for the third time five days later. They were expected to be committed to the Crown Court to face the charges.

Brian Rabbitt, Hertfordshire Police's financial investigator, told the hearing that Mr Yearley earned £4,000 a month but his wife's horses were costing up to £25,000 a month to keep at Newmarket and other stables across the country.

Mrs Yearley had her biggest win in August 2003 when a horse called Terfel won the Arriva Trains Handicap and a £30,000 prize. Other horses did not perform well and Eleanor's debts spiralled.

Recording verdicts of suicide, David Morris, the Bedfordshire coroner, said the couple had meticulously prepared their suicides. Mrs Yearley wrote to the coroner, saying: "I've been in hell for six months. I can't take any more. I am completely innocent."