'Romeo And Juliet' Parents Hanged Themselves From The Same Tree

14/08/2014 16:47 | Updated 22 May 2015
'Romeo and Juliet' parents hanged themselves from the same tree within weeks of each other

Three children have been left orphaned after a mum hanged herself from the same tree her partner killed himself from two weeks before.

The couple – who a coroner described as 'Romeo and Juliet' - were unable to cope with the heartbreak of splitting up.

Raymond Oswell, 31, was found hanged in woods near his home after partner Victoria Kish-Donovan, 24, ended their seven-year relationship.

The mother-of-three was so consumed with guilt that she hanged herself from the same tree a fortnight later.

Police officers found her at the tree in woodland in Wythenshawe, Manchester, with a note on the ground reading 'Together forever. I love you Ray'.

The couple left their two children, a son aged six and a daughter aged five, along with Victoria's eight-year-old son from a previous relationship.

Details of their deaths were read out at an inquest held at Manchester Coroner's Court.

Coroner Nigel Meadows said: "This is almost a repetition of a very famous play by Shakespeare called Romeo and Juliet – it could be the modern equivalent.

"Victoria was so traumatised by Raymond's death she wanted to take her own life, even though it would be leaving her children and family behind.

"It must have been a similar consideration for Raymond."

The couple met when Victoria was a teenager and Raymond was in his mid twenties. They went on to have two children together but after seven years, Victoria told Raymond the relationship was over – and after he got a friend to scroll through Facebook, he believed she had started seeing someone else.

He was found several days later by his sister, on June 21 last year hanging from a tree in Hatchett's Wood off Simonsway.

Victoria's mother Paula Donovan said her devastated daughter 'never stopped crying' after she learned of Raymond's death and felt enormous guilt over what had happened.

She would regularly be found at the tree where he died, which had become a shrine to him, surrounded by photographs and flowers.

On July 7 last year, police were alerted by a group of young boys and found Victoria at the same spot, hanging but still with a faint sign of life.

After desperately cutting her down using house keys found in her handbag, they tried to revive her, but she could not be saved.Goodbye notes to her children and family, plus a love letter to Raymond, were later found in her bedroom.

Mrs Donovan said: "When Ray was found dead Victoria was distraught. She would go to the tree and I would try and take her away, but she would not stay away. She just never stopped crying, she blamed herself for what had happened to Ray and felt responsible."

Mr Meadows said he was satisfied that the couple had intended to kill themselves when they died.

He added: "This is a very sad set of circumstances for both Victoria and Raymond and their families. They may well have had their ups and downs but they must have had a very committed relationship."

Victoria's sister, Simone Kish-Donovan, 29, said: "Victoria and Raymond really were truly in love. They had been in love with each other for seven years and were always so close.

"You have never met parents like them – they were never away from the kids and would try and bring all the family together by cooking meals.

"Just from one mistake, two families have been ripped to pieces."

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