Hanged presenter 'left two suicide notes'
Wednesday 16 April 2008
Television presenter Mark Speight left two suicide notes, his inquest was told today.
The 42-year-old was found hanging in a building next to Paddington railway station on Sunday, six days after he had been reported missing.
Speight had been left reeling by the death of his fiancee, Natasha Collins, at the flat they shared in St John's Wood, north west London in January.
He was initially arrested in connection with her death but no charges were brought.
An inquest into Collins's death heard that she had take cocaine and sleeping tablets and suffered burns covering 60 per cent of her body in a bath of hot water.
Today Inner West London Coroner Dr Paul Knapman said there appeared to have been a "double tragedy".
At a brief hearing at Westminster Coroner's Court, Speight's inquest was opened and adjourned following the formal identification of his body and a post-mortem.
Detective Inspector William Jordan, of British Transport Police, confirmed that a post-mortem had found that the cause of death was hanging and said police were not treating the death as suspicious.
He also confirmed to the coroner that he was aware of two suicide notes - one found on the presenter's person and another in a flat.
He did not specify which flat but Speight's address was given as 8 Penthouse, De Walden House in Allitsen Road - the address he formerly shared with Collins.
Following Collins's death, Speight moved in with her mother, Carmen, who reported him missing last Monday.
The inquest, which was adjourned until 20 May, did not hear any details of exactly how long Speight had been hanging.
But the coroner asked Mr Jordan to direct further inquiries towards the likely date and time.
Adjourning the case, Mr Knapman said: "The full circumstances will be explored at the resumption of the inquest in what appears to have been a double tragedy and the date will be Tuesday 20 May, 2008."
During the brief hearing, the coroner also read a statement from one of his officers confirming that the deceased had been identified yesterday as 42-year-old Mark Warwick Fordham Speight, born on 6 August, 1965 in Wolverhampton.
"He was a single man, a television presenter," the statement added.
The court heard that he had been identified as a result of documentation found upon his person and registration details had been provided by his father, Oliver Speight.
Turning to Mr Jordan, the coroner said: "You're able to tell me that a post-mortem was performed yesterday on Mark Speight. The pathologist told you that he thought the cause of death was hanging."
The police officer confirmed that this was the case.
The coroner went on: "As far as the police are concerned, at the present time there is no question of any suspicion?"
Mr Jordan replied: "That's correct, sir."
The coroner went on: "You have also told me that you know of two suicide notes... one was found on him and one was found in the flat."
The police officer again replied: "Yes, sir."
Speaking afterwards, Mr Jordan did not confirm whether this referred to the De Walden House flat.
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