Beds, Herts & Bucks

Kempston Premier Inn killer Daren Ellis took his own life

Premier Inn, Kempston, Bedford
Image caption The Premier Inn hotel in Kempston, Bedford, where Serena Hickey's body was found

A man who murdered his girlfriend at a hotel in Bedfordshire and was later found dead on a railway line in Warwickshire took his own life, a coroner has recorded.

Serena Hickey, 42, of Emerson Valley, Milton Keynes, was found dead at the Premier Inn in Kempston on 13 September. She had been strangled.

Daren Ellis, 39, died of multiple injuries, an inquest heard.

A post-mortem examination did not take place due to the nature of his death.

Identified by fingerprints

Det Con Kevin Hills, from Bedfordshire Police, told Ampthill Coroner's Court officers were alerted to an incident after Mr Ellis' sister Joanne Holland called them saying her brother had telephoned her "admitting to killing Serena".

Image caption Serena Hickey was strangled to death

Mr Ellis, of Talbot Close, Nuneaton, then told his sister he was "going to take his own life".

He was found dead on a railway line at Atherstone on 13 September, having been hit by a train.

He was initially identified using a mobile fingerprint scanner.

The inquest heard Mr Ellis and Ms Hickey had been in a relationship for a few months but had argued and that Mr Ellis had been violent.

The day before she was found dead, the couple had been at a wedding reception and went back to the hotel room with two friends.

Alcohol and cocaine

Mr Ellis became agitated and wanted the friends to leave, saying he wanted to spend some quality time with Ms Hickey. The friends left at around 02:00 BST.

The couple had been drinking and taking cocaine. A post-mortem examination revealed traces of the drug in Ms Hickey's body.

CCTV shows Mr Ellis leaving the hotel at 07:30. He phoned his sister at 08:00.

After police were alerted, they traced the phone call that he had made to his sister to Bedford.

Using automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras they then tracked down Ms Hickey's car at the Premier Inn, where they found her dead.

Assistant coroner Martin Oldham said that, "despite their best efforts", police were unable to find Mr Ellis.

He said: "What happened to Serena was a tragedy of enormous concern.

"There is compelling evidence and I am sure Darren Ellis intended to take his own life and so I return a verdict of suicide."

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