Ex-minister Owen Paterson’s wife Rose hanged herself in woods as MP pays tribute to 'loving wife and mother'

THE wife of MP Owen Paterson hanged herself in remote woodlands after searching suicide methods on the internet, an inquest heard today.

Rose Paterson, 63, was found dead near her large detached home in Ellesmere, Shrops, after family members became concerned she was missing.

An inquest heard today how the Aintree racecourse chairman looked up ways to take her own life online on three occasions before she took her own life on Mr Paterson’s birthday on June 24.

Shropshire Coroner's Court heard the mum-of-three's body was found by a police officer conducting searches of the land near their sprawling home near Wrexham.

Mr Paterson today paid tribute to his “loving wife”, adding that the coroner’s verdict is “absolutely tragic for the family”.

He said: “The Coroner's verdict confirming that my wife Rose committed suicide by hanging is absolutely tragic for me, our family and all who knew her.


“We were married for 40 very happy years. Rose will be remembered as a devoted, loving wife, mother and grandmother, as well as a most successful professional in her varied careers in the arts, charity and racing.

“We are still a long way from beginning to come to terms with her death.

“I would like to thank the Shropshire Coroner and West Mercia Police for the very sensitive manner in which they have handled this tragedy.
“I am now horribly aware that 18 people commit suicide every day in the UK and I intend to become more involved in suicide-prevention strategies.

“If I can help to prevent just one family going through the extreme anguish that our family is currently suffering, I will have done something really worthwhile.

“I ask everybody to respect our privacy at this desperately sad time.”

Mr Paterson told an inquest by video link when he was shown her body at around 6am on the day of his birthday it was evident she had taken her own life.

We were married for 40 very happy years. Rose will be remembered as a devoted, loving wife, mother and grandmother."

In a statement read out by the coroner, Mr Paterson said he had no idea that his wife was intending to take her own life.

He said: "She was not suffering from depression and she was not taking medication.

"When I am in London we usually speak twice a day, in the morning and evening. On June 24 I rang Rose at 9am, 10am and 7pm.

"At 10pm I sent her a text message asking her to ring me.

"My son was at home and was concerned he hadn't seen Rose all day. It was unusual for her not to return home in the evening.

"We were concerned she had had a heart attack and we couldn't reach her.

"I had no indication Rose had been thinking of taking her own life."


EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.

It doesn't discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.

It's the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.

And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.

Yet it's rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.

That is why The Sun launched the You're Not Alone campaign.

The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.

Let's all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You're Not Alone.

If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:

  • CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
  • Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
  • Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
  • Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
  • Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123

Family friend, Louise Lane, who said she knew Mrs Paterson for about 30 years, told the court she had been acting "out of character" before her death.

She said: "She was a very happy go-lucky person, down to earth and we talked about everything and anything. She was just a lovely person.

"She was acting out of character shortly before her death. The last time I saw her, she hadn't put her horses out and also didn't acknowledge me when I saw her."
John Ellery, senior coroner for Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin, concluded her cause of death as suicide by hanging.

He said: "I am satisfied Rose Paterson did take her own life and that she intended to do so.

"Although she left no note or gave no indication of what she intended to do she hanged herself in a remote woodland area.

"Her internet searches between May 27 and June 23 indicate an intention in relation to suicide.


"On the basis I am satisfied that Mrs Paterson did take her own life I don't need to investigate the reason why.

"I record a conclusion of suicide and that she died on June 24, 2020."

The Tory MP and his family attended the hearing remotely and the coroner read out their statements to the court.

At the time of her death, neighbours described the racing executive as a huge horse enthusiast and a lovely lady who would always greet everyone with a welcoming smile.

Gran-of-two Rachel Mottram, 65, a local farmer said: "It is so sad, such a shock.

"She was a lovely lady. I don't have quite the right word – she was a true lady. It is so sad for everyone.

"She used to regularly ride past the farm on her horse and there was always a smile and a greeting. She was a huge horse enthusiast."

If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, please call the Samaritans for free on 16123.

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