AN INQUEST into the death of an Ellesmere Port dad who died from a fatal drugs overdose had to record an open verdict after the man’s estranged wife burned his alleged ‘suicide note’.
Michael Bakewell, 42, of Park Road, who had battled alcohol problems and depression for most of his life, was going through a difficult divorce at the time of his death on August 7, 2011.
He had begged his estranged wife to give their relationship another chance the day before he was found dead at home surrounded by empty beer cans and boxes of prescription drugs.
Weeks later when his wife Rachel Bakewell was going through his belongings after his death, she found a note addressed to her in a bedside drawer.
She perceived it to be a suicide note and told her mother about it, who advised her to burn it so their daughter wouldn’t know her father had deliberately killed himself.
The inquest at Chester Magistrates Court heard how the former Stanney Grange High School pupil had been taking a range of medication for pain in the months leading up to his death and, though he had previously made several attempts to stop drinking, he had not stopped completely.
Mr Bakewell was relying on prescription drugs to help him sleep.
Giving evidence, Mrs Bakewell, 39, said their seven-year marriage was generally happy, but was marred by his alcoholism, which he often tried to seek help for.
The pair had started divorce proceedings in April 2011, but, despite making several unsuccessful attempts to reunite over the next few months, Mrs Bakewell had begun a relationship with a new partner.
A couple of days before his death, she dropped their daughter off at Mr Bakewell’s house and found him acting ‘very out of character’.
The next day he asked her for a reconciliation, which she said she ‘left open’.
Mrs Bakewell tried several times to contact her husband the following day and had only just arrived in London for the weekend when she heard Mr Bakewell had been found dead.
Tests showed high levels of amitriptyline in his system, and evidence of alcohol consumption.
Michael Wallbank, assistant deputy coroner for Cheshire, said that because the note had been destroyed he couldn’t record a suicide verdict.
“While it may leave unanswered questions, I’m satisfied there is insufficient evidence to disclose the means to which the cause of death occurred,” he said.