Rugby council officer and wife took their own lives hears inquest

Sean and Mary Lawson. Photo: Diocese of Leicester NNL-170106-094208001
Sean and Mary Lawson. Photo: Diocese of Leicester NNL-170106-094208001

A dedicated officer from Rugby Borough Council and his wife took their own lives after struggling with her condition following a stroke, an inquest has heard.

On Sunday, May 28, Sean Lawson, 50, and his wife Mary Lawson, 63, were found dead at their home in Wiggins Close in Rugby.

Mr Lawson worked as head of environment and public realm at Rugby Borough Council and had worked for the local authority for 12 years.

Mrs Lawson was a retired head teacher.

The inquest, which took place at the Warwickshire Justice Centre in Leamington on Friday, September 15, heard how Mr Lawson sent a time-delayed email to the police titled “apologies for this”, which went to on say “this means we are no longer in this world having passed over”.

Detective Inspector Paul Thompson from Warwickshire Police spoke at the hearing. He said: “After gaining entry we found Mr and Mrs Lawson in their bed both clearly deceased and at 2.18pm were confirmed as dead.

“There was nothing to suggest anyone else was involved.”

Det Insp Thompson went to say that the couple were found next to each other and that Mr Lawson was holding his wife’s hand.

The hearing also heard how Mrs Lawson had suffered a stroke 18 months earlier, which had resulted in “some disability to her mobility” and that as someone who was described as an independent lady, she was clearly distressed by her condition after her stroke, having tried various therapies and treatments, which were all unsuccessful.

A post-mortem established that the cause of death for both Mr and Mrs Lawson was asphyxiation.

Warwickshire Coroner Sean McGovern ruled that the couple had taken their own lives.

He said: “This is a very sad inquest about a married couple. Mr Sean Lawson, who was 50, held a responsible job at a local council and Mrs Mary Lawson, who was 63, also held responsible jobs as head teacher at a number of schools.

“Sadly however she had a very debilitating stroke. She went from someone that was very fit and health to someone severely disabled – certainly that was how she viewed her condition.

“It is my verdict that Mr and Mrs Lawson have taken their own lives.”

At the time of the couple’s death, in a joint statement, council leader Michael Stokes, Labour group leader Claire Edwards, Liberal Democrat group leader Jerry Roodhouse and executive director Adam Norburn paid tribute to Mr Lawson.

“Sean had worked for Rugby Borough Council for 12 years and had served the council and the people of the borough with the utmost dedication and passion for his work.

“His legacy will continue through the boroughs award winning parks and open spaces, as just one example.”

For support call The Samaritans on 116 123 at any time.