Inquest hears how head of school took own life

IPSWICH: The grieving girlfriend of an Ipswich headteacher has told how she is trying to rebuild her life after he tragically took his own life.

At yesterday’s inquest into the death of Owain Richards, it was heard that the 42-year-old father-of-two took his own life earlier this year by hanging himself.

Family and friends of Mr Richards, who was the headteacher at Cliff Lane Primary School in Ipswich, are still struggling to come to terms with his sudden death on February 7.

His partner of two years, Lisa Duff-Godfrey, met Mr Richards while she was a teaching assistant at Cliff Lane Primary School and the pair moved in together six months before his death.

Speaking on behalf of Miss Duff-Godfrey after the inquest, her friend Josie Sarro, said: “She is completely distraught. She has had to pick herself up, but every day is a struggle. He was a good father to her daughter Lace, 14, too. They are trying to rebuild their lives.

“She would like to thank all the family and friends for support at this time.”

It was heard that Miss Duff-Godfrey had returned to their home in Saturn Road, Ipswich, with her father, on the evening of February 7 and found him hanging from the loft hatch. Police and a paramedic arrived at the scene at about 7.10pm and his death was officially confirmed.

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A post-mortem conducted by Dr John Chapman found the cause of death was suspension by ligature.

It was also found that he had a “significant” level of paracetamol in his stomach, although it had not contributed to his death.

The inquest, held at IP-City, also heard that a note had been left by Mr Richards.

At the time of his death, his widow, Angela Richards, of Mumford Road, West Bergholt, whom he had separated from, said his family and friends were “struggling” to come to terms with his death.

The couple had two children, Charlotte, 12, and seven-year-old Oscar.

Coroner Dr Peter Dean concluded: “It was clear there had been some difficulties and stresses at that time.

“It is clear from the circumstances that he understood and intended the very sad outcome of these actions. I will record a verdict that he took his own life.”

Ms Sarro, who has been a friend of Miss Duff-Godfrey for two years, added that Mr Richards was also a big part of her son Fabio’s life while he was at Cliff Lane Primary.

“His memory will live on. It is very hard to come to terms with.”

n Have you lost someone in tragic circumstances and want to pay tribute to them? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail

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