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Claire Nagle 'unlawfully killed' by estranged husband, inquest hears

Claire Nagle Photo: BPM Media

A University of Nottingham student was strangled by her estranged husband, who went on to seriously injure her son before killing himself, an inquest heard.

Claire Nagle, who was studying for a mental health degree at the university, was described as 'a light in our world that will never go out' by her family after the hearing.

Her estranged husband Vincent Nagle strangled Claire at her home in Borrowash before attacking her son Nathan, leaving him for dead underneath a tarpaulin.

He threw himself off a bridge over the M1 on December 16, 2016. Derbyshire Coroners' Court heard that Mr Nagle was depressed and just days before his violent spree began, police had been contacted about his behaviour and concerns had been raised that he was going to take his own life.

In the weeks before his death he told doctors at Moir Medical Centre, Regent Street, Long Eaton he was suffering from tinnitus, was struggling with work and was having relationship problems. However, he refused counselling and anti-depressants.

Detective Constable Caroline Van Schaick told the hearing Mr Nagle had been violent towards Claire in the past.

Claire Nagle Credit: BPM Media

She said their 16-year relationship was strained and there were frequent rows and that, by 2016, the ''relationship had broken down'.

After the inquest's conclusion, Mrs Nagle's parents, Joy and Martin Paton, spoke to the Derby Telegraph.

Mrs Paton said:

We’re relived. Glad it’s all over. We are happy with the verdict.

Claire was wonderful. So vibrant, so bubbly and everyone loved her.

It’s sad. She would have made a brilliant psychiatric nurse. I’m glad she is getting her degree because she worked hard for it. She helped others.

That’s what shows what sort of person she was.

We knew that anyway. The verdict was just confirmation really.

– Joy Paton

When asked about Mr Nagle’s involvement, she said: “Yes he took our beautiful daughter and he robbed his own children of both parents.”

When asked what her legacy would be, she said: “Five beautiful grandchildren.”

Mr Paton said: “She was a light in our world.”

Mrs Paton added: “A light that will never go out. She will always be there.”

Her parents said the university are going to create an award in her name.

Charnwood Avenue, Borrowash Credit: BPM Media

The Nagles were living in Station Road as a family - but Mrs Nagle left and took her two youngest children with her to Charnwood Avenue, also in Borrowash.

Coroner Louise Pinder said by this point 'it appeared his mental health had deteriorated quite significantly'.

The events of December 16 began when Mrs Nagle went out to drop her children off at school.

Mr Nagle let himself in the back door of the house.She returned home at around 9am. He strangled her with a metal strap. She died between 9.03am and 9.30am.

Mr Nagle then returned to his home address of Station Road where he launched a 'vicious attack' on his step-son Nathan.

Giving evidence, DC Van Schaick, said Nathan was at the address alone. After getting some breakfast, he returned to his bedroom to play on a games console.

She said:

Between 9.30am and 10am, he heard somebody coming back home. He described how Vincent asked him to move his car from the driveway. He was then struck on the back of the head by Vincent who was holding some sort of shovel.

Nathan says he threw himself down the stairs to get away. Vincent was calm and had a smirk on his face.

– DC Van Schaick

She said Mr Nagle repeatedly beat him. Nathan asked him whether he was going to kill him or not and urged him not to.

Mr Nagle said 'your mum said there was no chance of us getting back'. Mr Nagle then told Nathan he was 'going mental'.

More blows from a shovel, a floor tile and also a shot from a nail-gun followed.

He threw a tarpaulin over Nathan and 'left him for dead'.

Mr Nagle later made contact with his brother, Joe, who was working from home in Sandicare.

DC Van Schaick said: "He (Joe) thought Vincent had lost it. He tried to calm him down."

He went to the house because he was concerned about his brother.

He did not enter the home and Mr Nagle told him: "I have killed her and I have killed Nathan."

DC Van Schaick said: "He did not think for a second he had killed anyone and he tried to calm him down."

They drove along the M1 and Mr Nagle said he wanted to drop his brother off at the Trowell Services.

DC Van Schaick added: "He pulled up on the hard shoulder. He tried to run out in traffic."

Despite his brother trying to stop him, Mr Nagle ran to the overhead bridge and dropped to the motorway.

Miss Pinder ruled he committed suicide.

Before his death he had left a note which talked about the broken down relationship, how he wanted to return to being a family and how he said he could not go on.

DC Van Schaick added:

Claire and Vincent had a significant relationship breakdown. Vincent was struggling to come to terms with that. Vincent had lost his job and was suffering from tinnitus.

– DC Van Schaick

In her conclusion, Miss Pinder ruled that Mrs Nagle died after being strangled by Vincent with a metal strap.

She said Claire was 'unlawfully killed and Vincent committed suicide.

Vincent Nagle suffered fatal injuries when he fell from a bridge over the M1 at 11.28am on 16 December. He died at the scene. Claire was found at 11.35am. She was taken to the Royal Derby Hospital and was declared dead at the hospital at 12.41pm.

Their relationship had broken down. Mr Nagle struggled to accept this.

– Coroner Louise Pinder

She said his last contact with the doctor was on December 14.

But, she said the care he received had been 'proportionate'. He was offered anti-depressants and counselling but declined both.