Killer told of love for family hebatteredto death

A businessman who battered his wife and daughter to death with a mallet professed his love for his family repeatedly in the moments after their brutal killings, an inquest heard.

Hugh McFall, 48, was found hanged in his industrial lock-up on February 5, four hours after the bodies of his wife, Susan, 56, and daughter, Francesca, 18, were discovered at the family home in Oswestry, Shropshire.

Coroner John Ellery recorded a verdict of suicide for McFall and unlawful killing for Mrs McFall and Francesca, known as Frankie. Both women had sustained extensive head injuries.

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A handwritten suicide note found near McFall’s body said he hoped to “rot in hell” for what he had done and proclaimed: “I love them so much, nobody can understand.

“Part of me wants to stay alive just so I can keep thinking about them. The pain is too much.”

McFall left another note next to his daughter’s body which read: “I love you more than anything I have ever loved, I couldn’t let you suffer, Daddy.”

And in a 999 call he told an operator: “I’ve just killed my wife and daughter. I love them so much.”

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A two-day inquest into the three deaths at Shrewsbury Magistrates’ Court heard that McFall, a self-employed flower salesman, appeared to have been a devoted family man who “doted” on his wife of 20 years and their daughter.

But business associates told the court they had suspected him of overcharging them more than half a million pounds over seven years and had threatened him with police action.

It also emerged that McFall secretly trawled the internet for prostitute websites and pornography, and researched HIV testing before his death.

The inquest heard that blood samples were taken from the bodies of Mr and Mrs McFall and Francesca after their deaths, and all three tested negative for HIV, but the coroner said McFall’s fears about his sexual health may have been “going through his mind”.

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Forensic investigators found that McFall had regularly been searching the internet for escort girls, massage parlours and pornography since 2004.

Richard Roberts, a senior forensic investigator from West Mercia Police, said internet searches for how to commit euthanasia, torture methods, and skin complaints were also discovered.

Mr Ellery, Coroner for Mid and North Shropshire, added: “It becomes related because of McFall’s interest and concerns over HIV and quite possibly whether he thought he may or may not have had HIV or Aids.”

The coroner said McFall may have also been driven by business worries and concerns over his “social standing” after losing 95 per cent of his income when his main customer suspended its contract with him.

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The owners of Stans Superstore in Oswestry had summoned McFall to their premises the day before his death, to confront him over their suspicions.

Co-owner Peter Faulks told the inquest that the business relationship had trusted McFall and never checked against the invoices he submitted. The business partners had warned him that they were considering contacting the police.

Mr Ellery said: “His financial world had collapsed, his source of business income or at least 90-95 per cent of it, had disappeared in a moment. Their lifestyle, as he knew it, would be over.”

The inquest heard that Mrs McFall and her daughter were found lying side by side on a bed in the master bedroom of the Hampton Road bungalow, covered in a “considerable amount of blood”.

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Dr Alexander Kolar, a Home Office pathologist, told the court the women had injuries consistent with having been struck by a rubber mallet which was recovered from the scene.

The coroner said he concluded, based upon forensic evidence collected at the family home, that Mrs McFall had died first, from one blow to the head as she lay in her bed.

He said Francesca sustained at least five impacts to her head and was moving around during the attack.

Mrs McFall’s son and daughter from a previous relationship attended the inquest.

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