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Last days of jail death millionaire
10:15am Friday 11th October 2013 in News
A MILLIONAIRE who was charged with the attempted murder of his estranged wife and her partner in Ledbury hanged himself after being told the prison where he was detained was to be closed, an inquest heard.
Father-of-two Peter Mason, aged 58, was anxious about the prospect of moving jails or having to share a cell with another inmate.
He had warned staff at HMP Gloucester if he had to share a cell he would harm himself or other inmates.
He also “showed anxiety” at the prospect of changing prisons, the inquest was told.
Mr Mason – who allegedly launched a frenzied attack on his 45-year-old wife Debbie and her childhood sweetheart Michael Longden on July 1, 2012, stabbing them both several times – had just settled down to prison life in his own single cell in the Victorian prison when the closure announcement was made.
Assistant deputy Gloucestershire coroner Tom Osborne said: “The imminent change of prisons was regarded as a possible trigger for suicide and Mr Mason, who had his own cell in Gloucester, was identified as not wishing to share a cell.”
Mr Mason, former £200,000-a-year account director of Hewlett Packard, had twice attempted suicide after his arrest – once by trying to stab himself in the throat while in hospital and then by trying to open a wrist wound while in police custody.
When he hanged himself in his cell he left a goodbye note for his son and daughter which was found by his body along with a photograph of the children.
The inquest heard that Mr Mason, from Nottinghamshire, had travelled to Ledbury to meet his wife of 10 years in a pub to discuss financial matters and the sale of their home in July last year.
After she left, he allegedly followed Mrs Mason to her new cottage on the Homend and stabbed her and her new partner several times. He then tried to flee the scene in his car and hit a motorcyclist, who was uninjured, before being arrested.
Mrs Mason suffered a punctured lung and serious injuries to one of her hands. Mr Longden – a childhood sweetheart she had got back in touch with on Friends Reunited – also sustained serious stab injuries to his head body, head and back.
Mr Mason had denied attempted murder and had also denied wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and possession of an offensive weapon – a knife.
Shocked neighbours said Mrs Mason and Mr Longden were the quiet newcomers who kept themselves to themselves.
Mrs Mason’s two children, a boy and a girl, both attended Ledbury Primary School. The Reporter understands the family moved to Scotland in November 2012, having moved to Ledbury from the Nottingham area in late 2011.
The jury returned a verdict of suicide.
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