Oldbury murder-suicide: Man killed wife 'after he suspected she was having an affair'
A man killed his wife after he suspected she was having an affair and then took his own life, an inquest heard.
Paul Lander, aged 30, and Rikki Lander, 26, were discovered dead at their home in Oldbury on August 5.
The night before, self-confessed ‘jealous control freak’ Mr Lander had discovered a text on the phone of his wife of less than six months which acted as the ‘trigger’ for the brutal and tragic events which swiftly followed.
His brother Blake Lander, who had been at the home on Pel Crescent at the time and read the message first before showing it to his sibling, told police someone had asked to meet Rikki to which she replied ‘I will when he’s asleep’.
Blake left the property shortly afterwards and then woke up the next morning to a message from Paul which said ‘I have hit Rikki with a hammer’, although he thought he was joking, Detective Sergeant Inderjit Basra told the inquest at Black Country Coroner’s Court.
Paramedics and police were called to the home around 2.20pm later that day when neighbours became alerted to a disturbance.
The body of Mrs Lander, an administration worker at West Bromwich Building Society, was discovered in the lounge with head injuries.
A post-mortem found she had been struck two to three times with a hammer and had also died of strangulation.
Mr Lander, a tipper truck driver for a Devon-based firm, had hanged himself in the hallway.
A police investigation revealed Mrs Lander had ‘gambling’ debts and owed £22,909 on credit cards while Mr Lander also had an outstanding balance of £3,262 of his own.
DS Basra said several undated handwritten letters from the husband to his wife suggested he was battling drug abuse, that he feared losing her and admitted to being a ‘jealous control freak’.
Police also went through the couple’s mobile phone data which found no evidence Mrs Lander was in contact with another person other than friends and family prior to her death.
Coroner Zafar Siddique said: “It seems the trigger was a text message. Rightly or wrongly Mr Lander thought his wife was having an affair.
“An extensive search and check of the phone logs was carried out.
“There was no evidence to substantiate she was having an affair.
“Mr Lander had believed that was happening and it seems to have been the trigger.”
Mrs Lander’s death was recorded as by way of unlawful killing while Mr Lander’s was recorded as hanging.
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