Page last updated at 21:14 GMT, Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Virgin row led to couple's death

Sue and Roger Goswell (pic from Sussex Police)
Susan Goswell was found stabbed to death at the family home

A coroner has recorded a verdict of unlawful killing after a mentally-ill man stabbed his wife to death at their bungalow in West Sussex.

Roger Goswell, 66, killed himself in a car crash hours after his wife Susan, 63, died at the couple's home in West Chiltington on 23 December.

The inquest at Worthing heard Mr Goswell was released from a psychiatric clinic days before the deaths.

His wife had recently admitted not being a virgin when they married.

The hearing was told Mrs Goswell had informed her husband, after 46 years of marriage, that she was not a virgin when they wed.

It had a profound impact on him, and he said there were "three people" in the marriage and tried to kill himself in November 2007.

Following the inquest the family criticised police and the health care Mr Goswell received leading up to the tragedy.

A narrative verdict was recorded on Roger Goswell, 66, who died when he crashed his Smart car into a tree in nearby Monkmead Lane later that night

Their family said the deaths were "predictable and avoidable".

It is apparent that there was an appalling discourtesy to you by the practitioners

West Sussex Coroner

The four-day inquest heard Mr Goswell could not cope with knowing his wife had had a relationship with someone else before their marriage.

The retired property developer repeatedly stabbed her with a kitchen knife and clubbed her with a rubber-headed mallet at their gated bungalow.

The inquest was told of a series of shortfalls by medical professionals and police in the weeks leading up to the couple's deaths.

Sussex Police failed to properly register calls made about Mrs Goswell's fears of violence at the hands of her controlling husband.

Mr Goswell was admitted to the Harold Kidd Unit, run by the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, in Chichester, on 26 November last year after a failed bid to gas himself in his car.

The inquest heard that the transfer letter from the unit to the private Priory Hospital in Hove failed to include vital information about the threat posed by Mr Goswell to himself and his wife.

'Concerns ignored'

Note-taking by the Priory's visiting consultant, Dr Glen Berelowitz, was also questioned as being too brief.

Dr Berelowitz also came under fire for discharging Mr Goswell less than a week before the deaths.

The bungalow at West Chiltington
Mrs Goswell was stabbed and bludgeoned at the couple's home

Coroner Penny Schofield raised concerns on Wednesday that the notes did not follow Mr Goswell to the Priory.

But she said she was satisfied that Sussex Police's actions did not contribute directly to the deaths.

She told the family: "It is apparent that there was an appalling discourtesy to you by the practitioners who may not have ignored your concerns but clearly did not have the courtesy to respond to them."

In a statement, the Goswell family again criticised Sussex Police's handling of the case.

And they said Dr Berelowitz had shown a lack of insight which they hoped would be addressed by the Priory and the General Medical Council.

In a statement, Sussex Police said: "Two calls were made to the police by the family three weeks before Mr and Mrs Goswell died.

"The staff taking the calls thought that this family were seeking advice and therefore did not follow the correct procedures.

"They have subsequently received advice and additional training."

Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said it would discuss the findings of the inquest and see what changes needed to be made.

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Worthing Today Coroner's criticism and verdict in husband and wife death case - 18 hrs ago
Mid Sussex Today Coroner's criticism in husband and wife death case POLICE and health services were strongly criticised by a coroner investigating a double tragedy in West Chiltington. - 18 hrs ago
Mid Sussex Today Husband and wife death - inquest verdict - 18 hrs ago
Horncastle News Family's anger over failings in double death case - 24 hrs ago
Worthing Today Husband and wife death - inquest verdict THE inquest into the tragic deaths of West Chiltington couple Susan and Roger Goswell finished yesterday (Wednesday, November 5) evening. - 25 hrs ago

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