Man wrongly thinks wife cheated on him, murders her and two children before jumping off cliff
Paul Newman, 42, struck wife Geraldine, 51, to death with a hammer before stabbing his son Shane, six, and daughter Shannon, 11, over 22 times to their deaths.
A man jumped to his death from the cliff where he had proposed to his wife after murdering her and their two young children, a court has heard.
Wakefield Coroner's Court heard that Paul Newman, 42, battered his wife Geraldine, 51, to death with a hammer before fatally stabbing his son and daughter.
Newman committed the horrific crimes after he was wrongly convinced that Geraldine was cheating on him with another man. After murdering his family, the killer left for a 180-mile train journey from Leeds, West Yorks, to the Isle of Anglesey in Wales, where he climbed to the top of a 240 ft cliff and plunged to his death.
It was the same spot where he had asked Geraldine to marry him 17 years ago, Mirror reports.
On February 2, 2016, the bodies of Geraldine and their children, Shannon, 11, and Shane, six, were found at the family home in Allerton Bywater near Leeds. In the meantime, Newman's body was found at the bottom of the cliff the same day.
It soon came to light that the unemployed driver had brutally struck his wife in the head with a hammer at least three times before laying her body out on the living room sofa and covering it with a duvet. He then went on to stab Shannon and Shane in the chest and neck over 22 times before covering their bodies with a duvet, a statue of Jesus, rosary beads and crosses, the court heard.
A note was recovered from the scene in which Newman detailed "how much he loved" his children.
"Geraldine Newman was unlawfully killed along with her two young children at their home," Coroner Kevin McLoughlin said.
"No one foresaw what was going to happen. There were no explicit threats. In hindsight, we can see that a relatively isolated individual was overwhelmed by a situation that would have deprived him of his children. You can only lament that had he voiced the demons in his head that might have precipitated some change. Anyone harboring dark thoughts should tell someone about the problem. I hope that anyone who might hear about this sad case can see that problems that threaten to engulf them can be conquered in time."
The court head that Newman was jailed for almost four months in October 2013 for assault by battery on Geraldine after scouring through her phone conversations and reading messages from another man. After his release from prison, Geraldine allowed Newman to reunite with the family. However, she banished him again in December 2015.
In the weeks leading up to the triple homicide, Geraldine texted a member of Newman's family saying she was "terrified." At the time, she had separated from her husband but was yet to divorce him, the court heard.
According to reports, the embattled husband suffered from OCD and took a variety of anti-depressants at the time of the attacks. Retired detective Paul Johnston said the killer most likely carried out the massacre because he thought his wife had left him for another man.
However, Johnston maintained there was no evidence to back up his suspicions. "There had been several problems in the relationship which she had sought professional help for," said Richard Smith of West Yorkshire Police. According to him, Newman informed his children's schools as well as Geraldine's workplace that they would not be coming in on the fateful day.
Memorial service taking place in Allerton Bywater for Geraldine Newman & her 2 children who were murdered this week pic.twitter.com/jwEB0qksrn— Mark Ansell (@MarkAnsell) February 7, 2016
On February 1, 2016, Newman hopped on a train from Leeds to a set of cliffs called Mousetrap Zawn in South Stack, right after committing the horrific murders. At around 8 pm that day, he is thought to have jumped off a cliff, just hours before his body was discovered the following morning by the coastguard.
Meanwhile, a friend of Geraldine's became worried about her whereabouts and subsequently found the bodies of her pal and her two kids at her residence.
A female paramedic who had responded to the address was forced to take a number of months off work as she suffered PTSD after witnessing the grim scene, the court heard.
That said, Newman's sister Rita Farley confirmed that he had jumped from the same spot he had proposed to Geraldine 17 years earlier. She described her brother as a "caring" and "kind" person who would "never argue with anyone."
In conclusion, the coroner ruled Newman's death a suicide and said that he fell 240ft onto rocks, meaning death was a "virtual certainty." He also debunked theories that Newman was blown off the cliff due to the strong winds or pushed by another person.
Friends and neighbours lay flowers, toys, letters & candles in memory of Geraldine Newman & children Shannon & Shane pic.twitter.com/yS1Ab0Jifv— Radio Aire News (@radioairenews) February 3, 2016
"Paul was found wearing only underpants and socks and had taken off his red jacket," he said. "That’s far from compatible, in my judgment, with the theory that he had been blown off the cliff edge as he had somehow been standing too close."
"We also note the horrific scene of brutality in the family home, when trying to explain the inclination of someone to attempt to atone by taking their own life," he added.
"Overall the conclusion I reach is that I am sure that Paul Francis Newman deliberately fell to his death from a cliff top in darkness on February 1, intending the result of his death."