Page last updated at 21:08 GMT, Thursday, 7 August 2008 22:08 UK

Driver used rope to kill himself

Gerald Mellin
Gerald Mellin left a note with his funeral wishes, the inquest heard

A depressed businessman going through a divorce decapitated himself by tying a rope to a tree and driving away in his open-top car, an inquest has heard.

Gerald Mellin, 54, of Neath, showed the rope to his 33-year-old wife two weeks earlier when he had asked her to quit their business and their farmhouse.

He cancelled his life insurance and ran up debts because he wanted to leave her "with nothing," the hearing was told.

Swansea coroner Phillip Rogers recorded a verdict of suicide.

Mr Mellin's widow Mirrielle told the hearing she had won a court order the day before her husband's suicide for an extra 100 a week from him to help with the running of the house.

He sent her a text message that evening saying "Congratulations XXX" and that was the last time she heard from him.

Gerald created the debt because he always said if I left him he would leave me with nothing
Mirrielle Mellin

Early on 14 September 2007, Mr Mellin tied one end of a rope to a tree in a car park on Mumbles Road in Swansea.

He wrapped the other end around his neck and accelerated away in his Aston Martin DB7.

A suicide note was found in Mr Mellin's pocket detailing his funeral wishes.

The hearing was told Mr Mellin owned a gym and sun tanning centre, where his wife worked as a beautician.

'Laughed'

The couple married in 2002 but had split up in 2007 and Ms Mellin continued living in their farmhouse at Crumlin, near Neath.

Mirrielle Martin
Mirrielle Mellin told the court their marriage was mostly "horrendous".

She told the court: "Our marriage was horrendous most of the time. After we split he phoned me and said he wanted to do a deal with selling the business.

"He had been to see an accountant but the way he did it was all wrong. I said it was about time we stopped arguing and started behaving like adults.

"That was when I met him in the pub and he showed me the rope.

"As we made our way back to our cars he opened the boot and said 'there's my rope, that's what I'm going to kill myself with'.

"I told him to grow up and give me the rope. But he just laughed."

'Anxiety'

"He would say suicidal thoughts, but I never actually believed that he would do anything. It was always a cry for help with Gerald. That's why I find it hard to believe this time around," she said.

Ms Mellin told the hearing she would have to sell the farmhouse to pay the debts.

She said: "Gerald created the debt because he always said if I left him he would leave me with nothing."

Det Con Ceri John said Mr Mellin was being treated for depression at the time of his death and was first seen by a psychiatrist for anxiety at the age of four.

Mr Rogers recorded the cause of death as decapitation.

He said: "On the evidence I have heard - notwithstanding Mrs Mellin's view of her husband's actions in the past and on this occasion that this was a cry for help - I'm satisfied no-one could have done what Mr Mellin did without realising the consequence of such an action would be his own death."





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