Long Melford deaths: Butcher's wife Deborah Ruse had 'chopping wounds'

Oliver Ruse
Image caption Oliver Ruse took over from his father Henry to become the fifth generation of his family to run Ruse & Son

A woman believed to have been murdered by her butcher husband had "chopping wounds to the head and neck", an inquest had heard.

Deborah Ruse, 39, was found at home in Long Melford, Suffolk, in November.

Her husband Oliver, 37 had been found dead beneath a multi-storey car park in Bury St Edmunds two hours earlier.

An inquest in Ipswich heard an axe stained with Mrs Ruse's blood and with Mr Ruse's DNA on the handle was found in a Land Rover in the car park.

Police are treating their deaths as a suspected murder and suicide.

The couple had four daughters, aged eight, 11, 13 and 16 and the inquest heard the couple had separated and there was an "acrimonious" dispute over where their children would live.

Image caption Floral tributes were left at the Ruse family's house next door to the shop on Hall Street

Det Insp Eamonn Bridger told the inquest that two days before the deaths, Mr Ruse had told his sister "the only way out was to kill Deborah, but he couldn't live with this".

Mr Ruse, who ran Ruse & Son butcher's on Hall Street, Long Melford, was found on the ground at Parkway car park and was declared dead at 12:39 GMT on 13 November.

A post-mortem examination concluded he had severe injuries consistent with a fall from height.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Oliver Ruse was pronounced dead at the Parkway car park next to Cineworld in Bury St Edmunds

Det Insp Bridger said a black bag found in a gold Land Rover Discovery contained a hand axe stained with Mrs Ruse's blood, while Mr Ruse's DNA was on the handle.

Police then found Mrs Ruse's body at her house on Park Terrace, Little St Mary's, Long Melford, at 14:39 GMT.

'Thoughts of suicide'

Mrs Ruse was born in Zambia. The couple met in London and married in 1998.

The inquest heard they had separated in 2013 and that she had been away and returned to live in a separate house in Long Melford, while their children had always lived nearby with Mr Ruse.

Det Insp Bridger said Mrs Ruse had had "alcohol-related" problems, while Mr Ruse had been admitted to the mental health unit at West Suffolk Hospital on 5 November complaining of depression and "thoughts of suicide".

He was discharged the next day with prescribed medicine.

Kevin McCarthy, assistant coroner for Suffolk, said: "Tragedies like this bring it home to us all the complexities of relationships and the frailties of life."

He adjourned the inquest until 26 February.

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