South East Wales

Newport gunman's son Jack Williams: Suicide verdict

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Media captionCoroner David Bowen said Jack Williams's suicide was "such a tragic death"

Police had to restrain relatives at an inquest into the suicide of a teenager unable to cope with the breakdown of his family which saw his mother shot and his father hanged.

Jack Williams, 16, of Newport, was found hanged in the same woods he scattered his father's ashes in.

Darren Williams, 45, killed himself after bursting into his wife's workplace and shooting her twice.

Relatives had to be restrained by police and two were escorted out.

Coroner David Bowen recorded a verdict that Jack killed himself and said his death should never have happened.

Image caption Darren Williams was found dead in woodland hours after shooting his estranged wife

The court heard that events leading up to Jack's "tragic and unnecessary death", began to unfold on 19 August 2011.

Mr Williams, a lorry driver, armed himself with a sawn-off shotgun and burst into the hairdressing salon his wife worked in. He shot her twice at point blank range in the legs.

Previously she had asked him for a divorce and he had subsequently discovered she had gone out with another man on two occasions during their estrangement.

Hours after the shooting his body was found in Brynglas Woods near Newport. He had hanged himself.

The inquest heard that Jack was unable to live at home in the aftermath of the suicide and that he slashed his wrists in a desperate "cry for help".

Relations between his parents' respective families had completely broken down, the court was told.

Mrs Williams remained in hospital for more than a month after the attack and underwent extensive surgery on a leg injured in the blast.

Any communication with Jack - by now living with his father's sister and her partner - was mostly by telephone.

In evidence read to the inquest, Mrs Williams said she received "abusive texts" from her husband's family and increasingly hostile ones from her son.

Jack, the court heard, was arrested by police after a complaint about his behaviour from a member of his mother's side of the family.

Image caption Rachel Williams, a mother of two, was shot in the knee.

The coroner heard of claims and counterclaims between the two families and a series of "vile texts" which had been sent on both sides at various times, some of which were assumed to have been seen by Jack.

Five weeks after his Mr Williams' death, depressed and unable to cope with the loss of a father with whom he was said to be extremely close, Jack went to the same woodland and hanged himself.

A few days earlier, he had sent a text to his late father. It read: "I love you so much Da.

"I hope where you are you can see this message and know that I love you more than anything in this world.

"I really do hope you are at peace and I will definitely see you one day. I really hope it comes soon because I don't know how long I can live without you."

Jack's best friend, Alistair Yates, told the coroner that on the day Jack died, he had arranged to visit the spot where he had scattered his father's ashes.

"He said he wanted to be alone. There was no indication he was going to kill himself or take his own life," he said.

Recording a verdict of death by suicide, Mr Bowen said: "This is such a tragic death and his death should never have occurred.

"I am satisfied at the time he was suffering from depression - not only had his parents' marriage broken down but then came his father's death.

"He was clearly a very troubled young man and was able to conceal the depths of despair from friends, family and health professionals."

On Tuesday this week, the same coroner recorded a verdict of suicide into the death of Mr Williams "as a result of an imbalance of mind".

The court heard he was struggling to cope with divorce and was taking anti-depressants and steroids.

A serious case review into the care of Jack after the shootings was published in 2012.

The independent review - which looked into the role of a number of agencies including Gwent Police, Aneurin Bevan health board and Newport council - found that support for the teenager was not put in place after his father's death.

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