Case: Strangled by her partner: Judith Brierley
Judith Brierley
Kim Matthews
Status: Solved
Categories: Domestic
Case synopsis:

Judith Brierley, 67, was found strangled at her home in Ealing, west London, on December 28, 2012.

She had been living at the house in Rowan Close with her long-term partner Kim Matthews, 62, for 30 years.

Relatives visited the address at 11am after becoming concerned at the lack of contact over the Christmas period.

Mr Matthews was found hanging from the bannister at the bottom of the stairs. The emergency services were called and one of the paramedics discovered Ms Brierley lying on the bed in the main bedroom.

There was a pair of leggings around her neck and bruising to her lower abdomen. A postmortem gave the cause of her death as ligature compression of the neck.

The inquest took place at West London Coroners Court on 17 September 2013. The court heard that the couple both suffered from depression but Mr Matthews' condition deteriorated after being diagnosed with prostate cancer in October 2012.

He told his GP that he had come to terms with cancer but complained that Ms Brierley didn't believe he was ill.

Coroner Jeremy Chipperfield recorded a verdict of unlawful killing for Judith Brierley and suicide for Kim Matthews.

Mr Chipperfield said: 'Kim and Judith's relationship was a close one but troubled by depression and Kim's diagnosis of cancer.

'The significance of the events leading up to their death can't be known - it is inconceivable and to some extent speculation.

'I am satisfied that the ligature was applied not by her but by someone else - we can't be sure why she was killed but it was done unlawfully by another person. And there was only one other person in the house.

'I am satisfied that in the days leading up to December 28, Kim and Judith died at the same time and that he was responsible for the noose around his neck and that he intended to take his own life.'

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