A wealthy dentist who was arrested on suspicion of killing his wife was the victim of continual “physically and emotionally” abuse at her hands, an inquest in Britain heard today.
Stephen Nicoll, 54, was arrested over the death of his wife Helen, also a dentist, after she hanged herself in the hall of their $2.6 million dollar home in Cambridgeshire in June last year.
At the time Police initially treated her death as suspicious, but Mr Nicholl was given police bail shortly after being questioned. The evidence presented at the inquest instead suggested Mrs Nicoll’s family — including her two daughters — were in fact the real victims of her abuse.
Mrs Nicoll pushed her children to excel, especially in music, and was investigated by police over the alleged assault of her oldest daughter, Georgia, several years ago. However in February 2015, when a patient of 20 years began trying to sue her, Mrs Nicoll’s behaviour became increasingly erratic, and eventually lead to her expressing suicidal thoughts. She also became paranoid her husband was having an affair, which he denied. She was prescribed antidepressants and also began to drink heavily.
The inquest heard that on the night of her death, Mr Nicoll returned home from meeting their daughter Georgia in London at around 11.30pm.
He said: “She walked up to me and said ‘you have been talking about me to Georgia’ and slapped me across the face.“ She continued slapping me across the face, sometimes she pretended to slap me and as I tried to duck she was laughing.”
The assault continued when he went to bed, where he said Mrs Nicoll struck him with her elbow and kicked him in the face. He said she then smashed her head on the bedside table because she “was very aware of covering her tracks and she could see that my face was marked as a result of the injury”.
He added that she later sent pictures of the marks on her forehead to the children, saying “this is what your father did to me”. Later that morning, at around 6am, he went downstairs and found his wife hanging in the hallway.
Yet instead of calling emergency straight away, Mr Nicoll first called his golf partner to cancel the game they had scheduled, then rang his children. At 6.27 am he rang emergency services. “When I first found her I rushed to cut her down. It then became apparent to me that she was clearly dead and I did not want to start resuscitation,” he told the court.
DCI Jerry Waite led the investigation and said that despite the bruise he decided to release Mr Nicoll without charge after he found no inconsistencies in his account. He said: "I believe that Stephen Nicoll was probably of victim of domestic violence. "