Died 3rd October 2013
Derisa Trenchard (48) was murdered at her home at Polwithen Drive in Carbis Bay, St Ives, Cornwall, on 3rd October 2013. She had died from head injuries.
Ms Trenchard’s husband, Jonathan Trenchard (50), was also found dead with self-inflicted stab wounds to the chest
At an inquest in August 2014 the Coroner Dr Emma Carlyon ruled Ms Trenchard was unlawfully killed by her husband. She ruled Ms Trenchard was beaten to death with a hammer by her husband before he stabbed himself with a kitchen knife.
Police officers concluded Trenchard killed Ms Trenchard using a hammer before stabbing himself in the chest. Pathologist Dr Amanda Jeffery told the inquest the scene “was consistent with the murder of Derisa by her husband and then the suicide of Mr Trenchard” and she did “not believe it to be a suicide pact.”
At the time of Ms Trenchard’s murder, investigating officers from the Devon and Cornwall police’s Major Crime Investigation Team said they were not looking for anyone else in relation to the inquiry.
Ms Trenchard and her husband had 3 sons. She was reported to be devoted to them. She had been married for 24 years and had recently moved to Cornwall from Reading.
The inquest heard her husband had become paranoid and needed constant reassurance about their relationship. In statements Ms Trenchard’s two oldest sons said they noticed a marked change in their father’s behaviour. They said he had convinced himself Ms Trenchard was having an affair. The police reported that there was no evidence of this.
The court also heard from Trenchard’s work colleagues, who said he changed in the months up to the deaths and had been advised to seek medical help. They said he had lost a lot of weight, stopped talking to people and lost his temper frequently. His colleagues told the hearing he began talking to himself about his suspicions about Ms Trenchard and once said if she and their sons left him, he would drive them all over a cliff.
Trenchard was advised to seek medical help and was referred to a counsellor by his GP and offered medication. He had been receiving counselling for depression and irrational thoughts. He was receiving medication for anxiety, but refused to be referred to a mental health team.
Ms Trenchard was reported to have recently booked a holiday in order to renew her marriage vows for the 25th anniversary of her marriage.
A family friend also gave evidence, saying Trenchard had a troubled childhood. His mother had had mental health problems and he left home after falling out with his father, living with another family.
Note: This report was drawn from reports in the BBC
FOD Comment: The BBC reported that Devon and Cornwall Police gave evidence that “checks by officers on the couple’s computers and mobile phones did not reveal any evidence that Mrs Trenchard was seeing anyone else.” It’s of interest that the police appear to have investigated carefully whether the murder victim was or was not having an affair (which in no circumstances would have justified the murder), but appear not to have examined whether there was a history of abuse by the killer. Neither do they appear to have questioned what he disclosed to his counsellor and GP, nor how it was that a man who had such “irrational thoughts” that he threatened to kill his wife and their children while at work, was not referred to mental health services as a matter of urgency, whether or not he consented to the referral.