Coroner told of money worries

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A MAN took his own life by jumping off the Mann Dam viaduct after thinking he had killed his fiancée, an inquest heard.

Martin Donlan, 54, took his own life after suffering from depression brought on by money worries after losing his job last year.

The painter and decorator from Carlton Way, Cleckheaton, had become anxious about his finances in the weeks leading up to his death on September 19.

Huddersfield Coroner’s Court heard that on the morning of his death, Mr Donlan had woken early to make his fiancée Michelle Smithson several cups of coffee before she had to leave for work.

At around 5.50am, as Ms Smithson was about to leave the home they shared, he told her ‘I love you’ before striking her over the head with a hammer.

He then produced a folding knife and stabbed her in the torso, before hitting her over the head with a glass vase.

Shortly afterwards, two passers-by spotted him sitting on the edge of the 80ft viaduct, wearing a dressing gown and pyjamas.

They called the police but when officers approached him, Mr Donlan pushed himself off the edge.

The inquest also heard that Mr Donlan had previously said he was going to throw himself from a bridge.

In the weeks before his death he even suggested that both he and his partner end their lives.

After the attack Ms Smithson was treated at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and has since recovered.

Assistant deputy coroner Tim Ratcliffe recorded a verdict of suicide.

He said: “I am satisfied that he did something – that he pushed himself forward off the bridge – which caused his death.

“The verdict I reach is that Martin Donlan took his own life while the balance of his mind was disturbed.”

A statement from Ms Smithson, which was read to the court, said: “I feel no malice towards Martin. I am aware that his mental health caused him to do this.

“I still love him.”