Lancashire

Morecambe prison officer Robert Holden strangled wife

Scene of discovery of bodies
Image caption The couple's bodies were found inside the house

A prison officer strangled his wife the day after they returned from holiday in Mexico, an inquest has heard.

Robert Holden, 44, hanged himself after killing Nicola, 40, at their bungalow in Morecambe in March, Preston Coroner's Court was told.

Deputy Coroner Simon Jones recorded a verdict of unlawful killing on Mrs Holden and suicide on her husband.

Mr Holden's mother phoned police after finding her son's body on 4 March, the court heard.

The couple, who had a teenage son, had planned to separate but it was thought their week-long trip was a bid to patch up their problems, the hearing was told.

The mother of Mr Holden, who worked at Lancaster Farms Young Offenders Institute, found his body in front of the kitchen door of the bungalow in Low Lane, Torrisholme.

'Volatile' relationship

Initially police were only aware of Mr Holden's body before they found Mrs Holden in the bedroom.

Senior investigating officer Det Supt Neil Esseen said there was no sign of a struggle and a suicide note was left in the kitchen in Mr Holden's handwriting in which he admitted killing his wife.

Their relationship problems led to "volatile encounters" between the pair, the court heard.

"Mr and Mrs Holden had significant marital difficulties and both had minor mental issues," Mr Esseen said.

"There were plans to separate."

He told the hearing: "They had returned from holiday the day before.

"There was some indication that this was an attempt at a reconciliation but some accounts varied as to how strong that attempt was."

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