Inquest Verdict Into Father And Son Deaths

A doting father warned his ex-partner she would never see their six-year-old son again before killing the youngster and then himself, an inquest heard today.

Chris Hall, 53, gave his son, also called Chris, a massive overdose of painkillers in a bedroom at their home in Bournemouth on August 18. He then lay down beside his son and took an overdose too.

Former cemetery worker Hall had found out in the days before that his estranged girlfriend, Rachel Wild, had started a relationship with another man.

A post-mortem examination found death had been about 36 hours before they were found, with Little Chris, as he was known, probably killed a little earlier.

Ms Wild told the hearing in Bournemouth that the split four months earlier was difficult with the police and courts involved over custody of the child and she was scared of Hall.

Ms Wild, 38, said she had dropped off Little Chris, who suffered from diabetes, at home on August 16.

Her new boyfriend, Christian Bryant, was driving and Hall was waiting outside the house and angry.

"He (Hall) stormed over, opened Little Chris's door and dragged him out and started shouting abuse,'' she said.

"He said, 'You have been sleeping with this man. You have been having sex in front of Little Chris' - all sorts of things. His face was just anger.

"He knew then he wasn't going to get me back.

"He said, 'You will never see Little Chris again. I will make sure of it'.

"I just thought he was going to go to his brother's.''

Ms Wild said she then went to the house on August 18 to pick up her son as arranged.

"He (Hall) left the door open. The dogs were very quiet and very happy to see me. They were trying to force their way out of the house. I knew then something was wrong,'' she said.

"It felt eerie. I just shut the door.''

Ms Wild went to her brother's and the police were called. She was later told the two had been found dead by officers.

She explained the family had struggled for money after a gardening business Hall set up failed to bring in enough money.

The couple then set up a cafe in Poole but Hall did nothing to help out while all the money went to him, Ms Wild said.

She said that the relationship, which had started in 2001, had always been difficult and she said Hall was moody and unemotional, but a "doting father''.

Mr Hall's brother Jemaur Tayle, 50, from London, told the hearing his brother had a difficult childhood and a bad relationship with his father and had attempted suicide three times in the past.

"The last 10 years of his life were probably the happiest and the thought of that breaking down was probably too much,'' Mr Tayle explained.

"I had no thoughts he would take Little Chris's life as well. I thought it was a possibility he would take his own life but I did not think he would be so selfish, having Little Chris in his life.

"I made it clear how I felt about it and I said it (suicide) was not an option.''

Another witness, Tracy Latham, said she last talked with Hall on August 15 and he told her Ms Wild had moved a new man into her flat.

"He said he felt he did not want to be replaced as a father,'' she told the hearing.

"He was very, very upset, very angry. I had never seen him quite so low.''

A 13-year-old girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said she saw Hall on August 16. He was upset and as she left he hugged her and said:

"If I die, tell the world I was always trying to be a good man.''

Police told the hearing there was no evidence of foul play.

Recording a verdict that Little Chris was unlawfully killed and Hall took his own life, deputy Bournemouth coroner Stephen Nicholls said: "It's been a very tragic set of circumstances. My sympathies go out to both sets of family and friends.''

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