Man killed himself after his soul mate hung herself in Romeo and Juliet style tragedy


Iain Fotheringham had only just been told by the mother of his friend Nicola Jordan that she had died in her home at Coombe Park in Downderry, Cornwall

Coombe Park Bungalows, Treliddon Lane, in Downderry
Both lived separately in Coombe Park Bungalows in Cornwall

A man described as a ‘maverick’ killed himself just moments after learning that his soulmate had hung herself in a Romeo and Juliet style tragedy.

Police found Iain Fotheringham in a pool of blood with self-inflicted stab wounds to his neck and torso, an inquest heard how he had stabbed himself after learning that soulmate Nicola Jordan was dead.

The 58-year-old Scotsman was left “reeling” after Nicola’s mother broke the devastating news that Nicola, 50, had hung herself in her nearby bungalow at Coombe Park in Downderry, Cornwall.

The pair, who were both hoarders, had grown close, according to neighbors in the close-knit community.

A detective in charge of the heartbreaking investigation described the pair as “soul mates” who “got through life together.”

The inquest in Truro, Cornwall, hears from Iain’s younger brother David, 50, who described him as an intelligent man who studied architecture at Dundee University but dropped out because he became dismayed at its ‘brutal pragmatism’.

He said Iain, who was born in Airdrie near Glasgow, was a talented artist and musician and had moved to Cornwall – a place he loved and made his home – and made money by sketching and busking in St Ives.

I have ended up in Downderry in south east Cornwall living in bungalows for people on low incomes.

His brother said Iain was “extremely warm and jovial but fiercely independent” and while he was a “sensitive man” he also “hid behind his shell’.

He also shunned the internet and social media, using a callbox to contact family and he made hand made greetings cards for special occasions.

Iain’s brother said he was extremely well read on global warming and living a sustainable life but even without a “real job” he always got by and was happy with that.

The senior Cornwall coroner Andrew Cox described Iain as a “maverick, something of a character” adding “the world will be a poorer place without your brother in it.”

The inquest heard both Nicola and Iain were hoarders but their relationship had blossomed, according to other residents in their tight-knit community.

At 2pm on June 30 last year Nicola’s mother Faith went to Iain’s front door to ask him when he last saw her daughter and whether she had seemed alright.

She told the inquest into her daughter’s death: “I told him what had happened and he couldn’t speak and put his hands over his face and was saying ‘no. no. no’.”

As police and ambulance crews headed to the scene Iain killed himself.

Residents had been concerned about Iain but could not get a response from his nearby bungalow.

Police were handed spare keys and found him in his cluttered home with a knife beside him and the area covered in blood.

Det Con Amy Woolridge, of Devon and Cornwall Police, told the hearing that Iain did not leave any notes.

She confirmed Nicola and Iain were in a close relationship but the hearing did not want to speculate on whether it was an intimate one.

She said: “They were soul mates. They got through life together.”

She believed Iain was “absolutely devastated” by her death in what were “very tragic circumstances”.

The coroner ruled that Iain had committed suicide.

Earlier on Monday the same coroner heard the inquest into Nicola Jordan’s death and ruled she too had committed suicide.

Her inquest was told she suffered with anxiety and depression following a series of tragic and harrowing events from the age of 15 including being the victim of a serious crime.

Mr Cox said: “Iain had been informed immediately beforehand that a close friend had been found deceased and that appears to have left him distracted.

“The evidence is he was found with stab wounds to his neck and torso and a knife was close by him. There was no third party involvement, it seems self-inflicted.

“He learned of the death of his close friend Nicola Jordan immediately preceding these events, and while reeling from that news he has stabbed himself in the chest and neck.”

The coroner said “the desperately sad events are interconnected”.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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