Depressed ex-factory owner killed wife

A HARD-WORKING factory boss who struggled to adapt to retirement became so depressed that he killed his wife and then drowned himself in the bath.

Kenneth Mann owned a plastics factory in Dewsbury but sank into depression when he had to sell the business in 2000 when he was 72, an inquest heard yesterday.

Mr Mann was given anti-depressants for five years from 2000 and was again being treated for clinical depression a month before he attacked his wife Doreen with a hammer and two knives, leaving her dead in the lounge.

In the weeks before her death Mrs Mann, a retired sales rep, had mentioned to others her fears that her husband might attack her. Relatives urged her to leave him.

Three weeks before her death she told her sister that she was worried that her husband was going to do something to her.

The couple, who did not have children and had been married 57 years, were found dead in their neat detached bungalow in Thornhill, Dewsbury –which they had named Kendoreen – two days before Christmas when a psychiatric nurse could not get an answer.

Mrs Mann died from head injuries and cuts to her neck and wrists.

She had tried to defend herself, suffering a hand injury. Two knives and a hammer were found on the sofa.

Her husband, 81, was found face-down in the bath and had drowned.

It is believed that Mr Mann had been particularly upset after being advised by his psychiatrist that he should not drive while taking medication, including sleeping pills. He was due to take his wife to the Lake District over Christmas.

Brother-in-law Stuart Smith told the inquest at Huddersfield Coroners Court: "Driving was the light at the end of the tunnel for Kenneth, and then even this stopped."

Psychiatrist Dr Vinod Shukla told the court that Mr Mann was a "keen and hard-working man" and said: "I think, having known him all these years he struck me as someone quite energetic and motivated, rigid in his thinking with a perfectionist's personality."

Asked by coroner Roger Whittaker if Mr Mann would have struggled with the transition from working life to retirement, he replied: "People who do have this personality type find it hard to adapt to changes.

"He was suffering from depression, he talked about fatigue, lack of drive, lack of motivation, not sleeping, feeling very low and having thoughts of taking his own life."

Mr Whittaker recorded a verdict of unlawful killing on Mrs Mann and ruled that Mr Mann had taken his own life while the balance of his mind was disturbed.

He described their deaths as a "double tragedy" and said he believed "lessons had been learned" following a review of the case carried out by the local NHS Trust.

He said: "I'm satisfied that Kenneth Mann's mind was disturbed at the time of his death. I believe that imbalance of the mind was present at the time of his wife's death also."

A statement from South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Trust said the trust reiterated its sympathies to the family and others affected by the tragic deaths.

The circumstances had been thoroughly investigated. "Sadly, we cannot change the tragic events that happened but we can learn from them and a number of changes have been made as a result."

These include improved systems for referrals between services and exchange of information; and improved record keeping following home visits.