Married Leamington artists in 'suicide pact'

By Kevin Unitt 23/03 Updated: 26/03 10:15

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MARRIED artists from Leamington killed themselves in a suspected “suicide pact”, a coroner has heard.

Taiko Threadgold, a 44-year-old originally from Japan, died from hanging on November 8 last year at her home in Binswood Mansions, off Arlington Avenue.

Husband Anthony Threadgold, a 39-year-old who is believed to have failed to kill himself at the same time, was then himself found hanging at their home on November 29.

An inquest into their deaths, held at Leamington Justice Centre on Friday afternoon (March 23), heard Mr Threadgold had constructed what was described as a “gallows” out of single bed stood on its end, with a series of pulleys attached and an exercise weight dropped to create a noose around the neck.

Despite claiming he had only built it to scare his wife out of suicide, she used it for that the next day after taking a large quantity of medication drugs.

He was found five days later with wrist injuries, and suffering from hypothermia, by a farmer in a field near Kenilworth, having apparently tried to kill himself. He was arrested on suspicion of her murder but then bailed and a few days later found hanging from a piece of white cord attached to his living room door.

Coroner Sean Patrick McGovern described the horrific case as a “double tragedy.”

Anthony's mother Sylvia – who called her son Tony - fought back tears as she told the court the couple were “very beautiful and very talented people with so much potential to be happy", adding it was “tragedy it should end like this.”

The couple met in 1999 - while both students at London's Royal Academy of Arts – and after a whirlwind romance married later that year.

After completing their degrees they moved to Leamington, where Taiko worked as a support worker with Mencap, and Anthony as a cleaner, while each continued their art work and lived what was described as a “simple and minimalistic lifestyle.”

But both had a history of depression and psychological problems and each had received treatment following earlier suicide attempts.

After they took their own lives, DC Mark Hewston, of Leamington CID, told the court both had left suicide notes indicating that it was what they had intended.

Police were not told of Taiko's death until Anthony was found in the Kenilworth field five days later and when they entered the property found the door to the their bedroom – in which she had killed herself – taped up with white powder scattered across the floor outside it.

This sparked a safety scare which saw the homes of neighbouring residents evacuated until the substance was revealed as soap crystals and washing powder.

The court heard Mr Threadgold later told officers he had wanted to “seal her inside so as to ensure she got her wish, which was to die.”

Coroner McGovern ruled both had taken their own lives and confirmed it was “probably in some kind of suicide pact.”

He added: “He survived but sadly days later completed his part of the pact.”

Offering his sympathy to Mr Threadgold's mother for her loss, he said: “There was clearly a lot of talent between the two and it is a terrible tragedy it should come to this.”

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