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3 May 2012, 10:41
Police officers broke into the home of Red Cross worker Angela Hoyt and found her lying dead in her bath, an inquest heard yesterday.
Angela had been attacked by her ex lover Dr Martin Collett as she ran her bath.
Grabbing her by her neck, he had forced her head down into the water.
The inquest at Hatfield heard that such was the force used as he plunged her down into the running bathwater, that she died from "compression of her neck."
Collett, 35, fled the house, but the inquest heard that he returned two days later to leave out food for their pet cat Sam that the couple had been devoted to.
Days later, with police searching for him - having named him as the murder suspect - he stood in front of a 100mph speeding train to take his own life.
The story was revealed yesterday at an inquest into the deaths of the pair.
The court was told that two days before her death, Angela, 34, had attended her local police station to tell officers she was being harassed by Collett who had hacked into her emails and Facebook account, causing her distress by sending abusive communications purportedly from her.
Canadian born Angela and Collett, who worked for the Health & Safety Executive, had lived together at her terraced cottage in Glebeland, Hatfield.
She was a high flying Public Affairs and Communications Officer for the Red Cross and days before her death had returned from working in Pakistan.
Collett, however, was unhappy with his job. He had trained to become a qualified pilot but, despite approaching numerous airlines, couldn't get a job flying.
Coroner Edward Thomas was told that after the couple had met in 2005, their relationship had numerous "ups and downs" and, while in Pakistan, Angela had met someone else.
By the time of her return to the UK, the relationship was at an end, but she allowed him to stay on at her home, sleeping in a separate bedroom, as they sorted out the break-up.
The hearing was told that Angela was shocked and distressed after discovering that, while away, her ex had been hacking into her email account and Facebook page and sending out communications to family and friends purporting to be from her.
On Friday May 20 last year, she went to Hatfield Police Station to complain that he was harassing her.
PC Sarah Henderson, who was with Angela for four hours that day, told the court it was decided to issue a Harassment Notice to Mr Collett straight away.
However, she said Angela asked for it to be delayed until after the weekend because there were things to sort out and she "didn't want to rock the boat."
On the Saturday, Angela went to stay with a girlfriend, but returned to her home.
That evening, with Mr Collett in the house, she was running a bath when, without warning, he attacked her.
Scenes of Crime Officer John Coe said: "She was still clothed and the theory is that she was running a bath at the time and was attacked while she was probably sitting on the bath edge.''
He said it was believed the taps had been running at the time and were then urned off by Collett.
When found, Angela was lying face down in an unnatural angle, with her head at the tap end.
There was no water in the bath, but the hoody she had on was saturated and police believe water that had been in the bath had gradually leaked away through the plug.
A forensic pathologist said they found bruising and abrasions on her face and gave the cause of death as compression of the neck.
Pc Henderson said that Angela had told her that she had confronted Collett about the hacking.
The officer said that his reply had been "It's nothing to do with me. I am not some walkover and you are going to pay for this."
The court heard that by Tuesday May 24 of last year, Angela's family back in Canada were so worried that they could not make contact with her that they contacted police in Hatfield.
Officers were sent to her cottage and there was no answer. Late that night, entry was forced into the property and she was discovered dead in the bath.
However, neighbours reported seeing Mr Collett's car near the property earlier that day.
Mr Coe said that it was thought Collett had returned to the property to leave out food for Angela's pet cat Sam, who he was also fond of.
A large pack of cat food had been left out and water.
In the days that followed, Hertfordshire Police mounted a major search for Collett, naming him as someone who they wanted to interview in connection with Angela's death.
He was spotted on one occasion in the grounds of Hatfield House. It was around 5.30 in the morning and he was sitting in the long grass eating a sandwich.
When a dog walker asked him what he was doing, he got the answer "Waiting for the police."
The inquest then heard how later on the night of May 27 last year, the driver of a train travelling at 100mph just north of Hatfield Railway Station, reported hearing a loud bang as if the train had hit something solid.
The train came to a halt and Collett's remains were discovered. He was identified by his fingerprints.
The coroner recorded a verdict that Angela had been unlawfully killed and Collett had taken his own life.
He said: "The police had spent a long time with Angela when she had gone to the station and had dealt with her in an appropriate way."
He said "In my judgement, what they did was the right thing.
"I think the evidence is that he would have found it very difficult to get over the break-up with Angela."
The cororer added "But none the less Angela had the right to say 'I think the relationship is at an end'."