Partner photographed his girlfriend for hours after her suicide in Ilford Travelodge, an inquest hears
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The boyfriend of a woman who committed suicide in an Ilford hotel waited six-and-a-half hours before alerting the emergency services, an inquest has heard.
Described as an “unusual and bizarre case” by coroner Ian Wade QC, Waltham Forest Town Hall heard that Donna Lindsay, 36, was deeply troubled at the time of her death on October 9 last year.
After she died, her boyfriend Gordon Mackay photographed her and sent an email to a friend about her death two hours before he alerted hotel staff.
The couple, who lived in Perth, Scotland, were staying at Ilford Travelodge, in Clements Road, on holiday, arriving on Friday October 7.
On the Saturday night the pair decided to go out in Romford, but ended up arguing after they were refused entry to several nightclubs due to a lack of identification.
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After returning to the hotel to collect their passports shortly after midnight, Ms Lindsay returned to the room, whilst Mr Mackay left again in order to let her cool down, he claimed.
In a witness statement read to the court, he said: “She became angry and blamed me for choosing to go out in Romford.
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“She started screaming and shouting at me and told me to go out on my own.
“I told her that I would and that I was going to have a great night.
“I wasn’t going to; I just wanted to give her space.”
When Mr Mackay phoned her 30 minutes later, Ms Lindsay told him that she was going to kill herself as she had “had enough”, he said.
At the inquest yesterday, he said he “gave her a short amount of time” before returning to the hotel just after 2am, where he found the hotel room had been overturned.
He said he discovered Ms Lindsay in the bathroom where she had hanged herself and attempted to resuscitate her before moving her to the bed.
“I knew that she was dead. She looked so peaceful and beautiful,” he explained.
“I lay down beside her and started stroking her face and hands, she looked very beautiful.”
It was at this point Mr Mackay began taking photos of Ms Lindsay and messaging his friend.
Staff were not alerted to the incident until 9am, when Mr Mackay approached the hotel desk to inform them that his girlfriend was dead.
Manager Paula Azoitei said she initially thought it was a joke, before realising that he was serious.
She said: “I told him he should call an ambulance and he told me to call them and then he asked if he could have a coffee.”
Mr Mackay left the premises in a hunt for caffeine whilst Ms Azoitei phoned the police.
Shortly after detectives arrived, he returned to the hotel after purchasing a jumper, and was arrested on suspicion of murder.
A post-mortem examination on October 10 concluded that Ms Lindsay had died after hanging herself in the bathroom, with traces of cocaine and prescription drugs in her system.
In the hotel room, Redbridge Police found the couple’s phones, containing texts to drug dealers in Romford offering to sell them diazepam.
In an interview with police, Mr Mackay said he had only drank a bottle of rosé wine however hotel guests told the inquest they had seen him behaving erratically, believing him to be on drugs.
Officers interviewed every guest along the corridor and no staff or visitors reported hearing or seeing a disturbance.
CCTV from the hotel and surrounding area supported Mr Mackay’s account of the night and he was released without charge.
Det Sgt Brian Smith of Redbridge Police was praised by the coroner for the force’s rigorous investigation.
Det Sgt Smith told the inquest: “However bizarre his behaviour was, and I was not happy with him, there was no evidence to say that anything he said was not true.”
In his concluding remarks, coroner Ian Wade QC said there was no reason to believe that the death was non-suspicious.
He said: “I can’t say that I’m ever going to be happy with this, it’s a unusual and bizarre case.
“As unusual and unacceptable as this death was, it was not a crime.
“As strange as Mr Mackay’s behaviour was, he did not cause her death and he was not a party to her actions.”
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