First Posted on Antidepaware.co.uk
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By Lizzie Edmonds
PUBLISHED: 19:34 GMT, 26 September 2013
A £200,000-a-year IT boss charged with stabbing his estranged wife and her lover was found hanged in his prison cell amid fears he would be forced to move jails, an inquest heard.
Father-of-two Peter Mason, 58, was arrested after Deborah Mason and her new partner Michael Longden were seriously injured outside their shared home.
Deborah suffered multiple stab wounds and her boyfriend was stabbed seven times in the horror attack on July 1 last year.
But before he could be brought to trial for attempted murder Mason, an IT director for Hewlett Packard, was found dead in his cell at HMP Gloucester.
Mason, who had been placed on a number of suicide watches after his arrest, became increasingly anxious at the prospect of leaving the closing prison, an inquest was told.
He had been in custody since July 2012 and suffered depression and anxiety issues and dealt with them by escaping to be by himself in his cell.
But Mason, who had tried to kill himself three times following the stabbing, had been improving following a course of mental health work and was removed from suicide watch.
He had begun participating within the prison with his inmates and had even got a job in the library.
But his mood became worse when he was moved from his usual C Wing to A Wing and then worse again when on January 11 he was told the prison was closing.
He told staff he was adamant he wanted to ‘be left in a cell on his own’ and did not want to share with another person, Gloucestershire Coroners Court was told.
Despite the improvements mental health notes record that Mason’s mood plummeted when he found out he would be moved.
The inquest heard he became ‘extremely anxious’ that he would have to share a cell.
Mason was found hanging from his bunk bed on January 19 by a prison officer who was checking the prisoners after night lockdown.
A note was found with a picture of the father’s children attached near to his body, the inquest heard.
Giving evidence mental health nurse Hanna Rigby said one occasion she had been called to see Mason after he had pressed his cell bell asking for assistance.
She said: ‘He was acutely anxious and very stressed. He was surrounded by all his belongings in bags, and for someone who likes to be in control and order of his belongings I think it was very difficult
‘He was moving around all the bags and his facial expressions were very stressed and very worried.
‘He was very worried he would have to share his cell with somebody else as the cell he had been put in had bunkbeds.
‘We sat and chatted for a while as I reassured him he would not be sharing a cell.
‘He made some comments about how, if he was to share the cell, he might even harm the other person or himself to remove himself from that situation.
‘He adamantly denied having thoughts about harming himself though. He wanted to be left in his cell, on his own to his own devices.’
In a statement given by Dr Andrew Green, a GP, he said: ‘Peter appeared a little unsettled due to the news Gloucester was closing. He was extremely anxious whether he would have to share his cell.’
A hand-written pencil note, addressed to his children and friend, was found in a stack of papers under Mason’s bed.
Officials also found a pair of shoes which had the laces tied into a noose – which is thought he used to practice making the ligature which killed him.
In a statement read to the court PC Hannah Mackie said: ‘I found a large bundle of letters which appeared to be from his solicitor relating to his case.
‘There was one piece of paper, written in pencil and attached to a picture of two children, which appeared to be his own.
‘It appeared to be a goodbye note but it did not appear to talk about taking his own life, nor was it dated.
‘I also found a pair of prison issue shoes which had the laces tied in nooses with a slip knot in each end. These appeared to be practice knots.’
The inquest heard on the night Mason died he asked staff for his medication early, meaning he would not have to leave his cell after the 5pm lockdown.
Following the shut down Mason was found hanged in his cell at 6.45pm. The inquest was not told what he used as a noose.
Recording a conclusion of suicide the jury foreman told Deputy Coroner Tom Osborne: ‘Mr Peter Mason died from pressure to the neck in keeping with hanging on January 19 2013 at HMP Gloucester. We record a conclusion of suicide.’
Mason was awaiting trial for the attempted murder of his 45-year-old wife and Michael Longden, a childhood sweetheart she had got back in touch with via Friends Reunited.
He was accused of stabbing them after she left the £500,000 family home in Tuxford, Nottinghamshire, with their children to start a new life with her lover.
Mason had travelled to Ledbury to meet his wife of ten years in a pub to discuss financial matters and the sale of their homes.
After she left, he allegedly followed her to her new cottage and stabbed her and her new partner multiple times.
Mrs Mason suffered a punctured lung and serious injuries to one of her hands. Her new partner also sustained serious stab injuries to his body, head and back.
Friends also claimed Mason later emptied all his bank accounts from prison to stop his wife accessing their money.