Beds, Herts & Bucks

High Wycombe inquest hears of car suicide pact

The family of a teacher who died in an internet suicide pact have been told she was found in a car "cradled" in the lap of a stranger who was also dead.

Jenny Spain, 23, of Deptford, London, and Mark Searle, 37, of Hailsham, East Sussex, met on the internet.

The pair researched their deaths before driving to a remote spot near Chalfont St Giles in Buckinghamshire, the inquest in High Wycombe was told.

Buckinghamshire coroner Richard Hulett recorded verdicts of suicide.

The inquest heard that police uncovered an internet and text trail between the pair who planned their deaths in February.

They had been "complete strangers living a considerable distance from each other" but met in an internet forum, the hearing was told.

'Dreadful shock'

In a written statement, Judy Thompson who was walking her dog, said she had spotted the car in a Buckinghamshire country lane and saw two bodies in the back.

"I saw something on the male's lap as though he was cradling something," she said.

"I immediately thought it was a child but quite quickly I realised it was another person, an adult, slumped across the male's lap."

The car's windows had been taped up and there was a strong smell of "bad eggs", said Ms Thompson.

Mr Searle's wife, Emma, said her husband had suffered with suicidal thoughts since they met.

"I knew he had suicidal thoughts and he did find an outlet for that online," she said.

Ms Spain's father, Christopher, said his daughter had suffered from depression and had self-harmed but said her death had come as a "dreadful shock".

Buckinghamshire Coroner Richard Hulett said he had been able to access information on their chosen suicide method "within about three minutes" online.

Recording verdicts of suicide, he said: "There was a clear decision and determination to take this course of action which could only result in the death of both of them.

"With this in mind, I need to return two verdicts that each individual took their own life."

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