Vet killed wife with axe while depressed
Tuesday 09 November 1993
David Masters, the Wiltshire coroner, was told that the vet, Dennis Archer, was being treated for severe depression before the killing early on 26 July.
No suicide note was left and there was no explanation for the deaths, he said in concluding the inquest in Devizes.
He found that Mr Archer, 71, struck his wife Margaret, 59, at least 12 times as she lay asleep in her bed at their home in Trowbridge.
Then the vet carefully washed his hands before climbing in his pyjamas through a skylight and sliding down the roof of the three-storey house to fall 40ft to his death on a gravel pathway.
The inquest was told that the couple's daughter, Sarah, 25, slept through the horror after returning home late from an evening out.
Before she left, her father had told her he felt he was 'losing his mind' - a statement he had made repeatedly in previous weeks as his condition worsened.
Miss Archer recalled in evidence how she was wakened by a telephone ringing. She went to answer it in her mother's room and found the blood-covered body. When she did answer the telephone it was the police who had been alerted by a passer-by to her father's body outside the house.
The inquest was told that the couple had been married for 29 years. Mr Archer had retired four years earlier from his Trowbridge practice, where he was known as a meticulous professional. But he developed depression and was being treated as an outpatient, was taking tablets and receiving counselling.
Miss Archer said her father worried 'immensely' over a number of events. On the night before the deaths he told her in his study that he was losing his mind and that he had 'had it'.
In summing-up, Mr Masters said that the Archers were a caring, normal and happy family.
He maintained that Mr Archer loved his wife and said: 'I do not know, but perhaps if he was going to take his own life he would not want to leave his wife behind. That is entirely speculative.'
He recorded a verdict of unlawful killing.
- 1 Moscow voted the world's unfriendliest city
- 2 The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
- 3 I'm pansexual – here are the five biggest misconceptions about my sexuality
- 4 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
Bono's group has made more money from Facebook investment than from all his music
Three-year-old ultra-Orthodox Jewish children told 'the non-Jews' are 'evil' in worksheet produced by London school
Wikipedia rocked by 'rogue editors' blackmail scam targeting small businesses and celebrities
More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches, it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don’t change Europe’s attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...
£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...