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Former pilot from Frilsham killed wife then took own life – inquest

Coroner: “I stress it is an act of love, in my view, and not a malignant act.”

John Garvey

John Garvey

john.garvey@newburynews.co.uk

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01635 886628

Former pilot from Frilsham killed wife then took own life – inquest

A FORMER Concorde pilot killed his dementia-stricken wife before taking his own life, an inquest heard.

The bodies of 84-year-old Tony Meadows and his wife Paula, aged 85, were found at Hawkridge Farm, the rambling property they had shared for 30 years, in Pot Kiln Lane, Frilsham, on April 2 last year.

Police sealed off the scene and initially launched a murder investigation.

But the hearing at Reading Town Hall on Wednesday, November 25, was told that Mr Meadows had unlawfully killed his wife, who had been crippled by agonising back pain as well as suffering from dementia, before taking his own life.

According to the BBC, the couple’s daughter Nicola Meadows said in a statement Mr Meadows had been “quite depressed” when she last saw her parents.

She added: “In my opinion Daddy killed Mummy because her life was dreadful... I don’t think he wanted to live without her. 

“They were married for 61 years and loved each other.”

The inquest heard that the father-of-three, who once piloted for the Queen, had been planning the death of his wife and himself over a number of days.

A post-mortem examination found the pair died due to asphyxiation.

Assistant Berkshire coroner Ian Wade QC described the case as “desperately sad” and said: “I find [Mrs Meadows] died as a result of the deliberate intervention by her adoring and concerned husband Tony; that he decided that he would go against nature and he took informed deliberate steps to end his wife’s life – I’m quite sure out of compassion. 

“I stress it is an act of love, in my view, and not a malignant act.”

Mr Wade concluded that Mrs Meadows had nevertheless been unlawfully killed and that Mr Meadows had then taken his own life.

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