Retired blacksmith killed his wife then himself after suffering mental health problems, inquest finds

James and May Stokoe
James and May Stokoe
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A PENSIONER was unlawfully killed by her husband, who then killed himself, an inquest has concluded.

May Stokoe was stabbed to death at her home in Hylton Castle, Sunderland, by husband James.

He then killed himself in the back bedroom of the family home they had shared for 48 years.

The inquest in Sunderland was told by Detective Chief Inspector Christina Barrett that the couple had a turbulent and unloving marriage.

Retired blacksmith Mr Stokoe, 79, suffered mental health problems and had attempted suicide in March last year, about two months before the couple’s deaths on May 1.

He was receiving daily visits from mental health workers and had been prescribed anti-psychotic drugs, although he had stopped taking them.

Monday’s hearing was told by mental health nurse Sue Wilmott that Mr Stokoe had thoughts about hurting his wife.

But he always insisted he would not act on them.

Senior Coroner Derek Winter recorded a verdict of unlawful killing for May Stokoe and that her husband had killed himself.

He would be using his powers alert the Government to issues raised by an independent expert, who reviewed the Stokoes’ case.

He said: “I remain concerned that issues like this should have the utmost priority and lessons learnt locally should not be lost nationally.”

He also emphasises the importance of domestic abuse training for mental health workers.

A full report of the inquest will appear in Wednesday’s Echo.

Conclusions: May Stokoe, unlawful killing. James Stokoe, killed himself.

Twitter: @janethejourno