Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Cliff-drive pair Paul and Jacqueline Charles 'in destructive relationship'

Paul and Jacqueline Charles
Image caption Both Mr and Mrs Charles left suicide notes

The coroner at the inquest of a couple who died after driving off a cliff on the Isle of Wight said they had been in a "destructive relationship".

Coroner John Matthews delivered a suicide verdict for both Paul Charles, 53, and Jacqueline Charles, 48.

Explaining his verdicts, he said: "Like many destructive relationships, it came to not being able to live with them but not being able to live without them."

The Newport hearing was told the estranged couple left suicide notes.

The notes were written by Mr Charles, who was an ex-police officer.

'Had her troubles'

Mr Matthews said: "Mrs Charles counter-signed both the letters written by Mr Charles but her writing was not on them.

"However, as a similar letter in her writing was discovered in a prominent position in her flat, coupled with the evidence of several witnesses that she didn't appear to be under any form of compulsion or of fear or make any attempt to escape or jump out of the car, I have recorded a verdict of suicide in her case as well."

After the hearing Caroline Sharp, Mrs Charles's sister, said she was shocked that her sister had been put under pressure by her husband who drove them off Culver Down Cliffs, in August last year.

Mrs Sharp said: "She had her troubles but she was fun-loving.

"I still can't believe it happened. I do not believe it's the way she would have chosen to have done it if she had. Only they will truly know. She has left notes before but she hasn't done it [killed herself]."

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