New blow for ex-councillor

AN IPSWICH man, helf for nine hours on suspicion of his wife's murder has today been dealt a new blow as he tries to rebuild his life.Chris Newbury's wife, Elaine died suddenly on October 25 of liver failure, but he was held by police in Ipswich for several hours before it was revealed that her death was not suspicious.

AN IPSWICH man, held for nine hours on suspicion of his wife's murder has today been dealt a new blow as he tries to rebuild his life.

Chris Newbury's wife, Elaine died suddenly on October 25 of liver failure, but he was held by police in Ipswich for several hours before it was revealed that her death was not suspicious.

The former Labour councillor is now having to sell their home in Clarence Road, Ipswich in order to pay off credit card debts that his wife built up over the last few years.

Mrs Newbury often drank heavily and also suffered from depression. She tried to combat this by spending freely, building up huge debts.

It is the latest blow to face the 57-year-old as he prepares for the New Year without his wife after spending his first Christmas without her, in what was a very difficult time for the family.

Mr Newbury said: “Christmas Day was exactly two months after Elaine died, but my daughters came over with their families and helped me cook lunch. We made the best of it.”

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But now he is having to face an anxious start to 2006 as he struggles to cope with debts that his wife had built up.

Now her husband is having to repay the thousands of pounds of debts that had built up over recent years.

He said: “I had hoped to be able to remortgage the house to pay off the debts, but at my age it isn't easy to persuade anyone to lend me that.

“It's all very well for the government to say we'll have to carry on working until we're 70 - but the building societies don't seem to have got the message!”

He and Elaine had lived at their home in Clarence Road for 11 years - but it is now about to go on the market.

He added: “I should be able to clear the debts and either buy a small flat or rent somewhere.

“I shall be sorry to leave the house. We lived here for 11 years and had some very happy times - but I want to get all these debts sorted out and start a new phase in my life.”

Mr Newbury said it had taken him some time to get back to a “normal” existence after the shock of Elaine's death in October.

He returned to full-time work at Felixstowe Docks in early December and has also resumed his voluntary work with the Co-op education department and the Ipswich Credit Union.

His attempts to get a trust set up in his wife's memory is also expected to occupy much of his time in 2006.

But one area of life he doesn't seem himself returning to is the cut-and-thrust of local politics.

He was a Labour member of Ipswich council until 2003, but now accepts that phase of his life is over.

He said: “I'm through with party politics. I feel I did make my voice heard but I have other things to concentrate on now.

“My feelings have changed - I did try to fight a seat in 2004, but I shan't be doing that again.”

n. Have you found yourself in a similar position to Mr Newbury? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

PANEL - Elaine's legacy

DURING 2006, a major thrust of Chris Newbury's life will be to try to set up a trust in memory of his late wife to offer help and support for women in her position.

He hopes to open a centre in Ipswich to offer residential care for women who may crack under the strain of keeping a family and home together.

Mrs Newbury struggled with depression which she eased by going out spending money on credit and by drinking heavily - yet to the world outside their front door she seemed fine and the family's rock.

He husband said: “There is a clear need for such a place. I've spoken to doctors and people from Norcas (alcohol counselling service) and they agree a residential centre would be of great benefit to some people.

“Elaine would have benefited from the support she could have got from a centre like this - now I'm hoping to get things moving in her name.”

He has already attracted some interest in the idea from the report in the Evening Star in November and after his story was published in a Sunday newspaper supplement.

He said: “Once I've sorted the house out I really do want to concentrate my energy on getting a trust set up.

“The first thing to do is to have a meeting with the charity commission and get things started. I have to work closely with them - but I am hoping that the Trust will be up and running during the year.

“There's a long way to go before it can get itself established, but I'm going to focus my energies into this from now on.”

WEBLINK: www.norcas.org.uk

PANEL - police complaint

MR Newbury was held for nine hours by police on suspicion of murder before they received the results of the post mortem which revealed his wife had died from liver failure.

He has written to Chief Constable Alastair McWhirter to protest about his treatment.

He said: “I was held for nine hours and I was only interviewed for the last 15 minutes of that - the rest was all processing.

“Just as they started questioning me, the desk sergeant burst in with the post mortem result and that was the end of it all. I just wasn't happy about the way I was treated and the fact that no one was prepared to listen to me.”

Mr Newbury received a letter back from the chief constable's office dated November 17 saying a full reply should be sent within 20 working days - but the full reply has still to materialise.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk Police said senior staff had been on leave in the run-up to Christmas, but expected Mr Newbury's full reply to be sent out very early in the new year.

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