Stabbing deaths: dad felt ‘isolated’

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Andrew Cairns had enjoyed a “film star” lifestyle before his move to Derbyshire which ended with the tragic triple stabbing at Holbrook, an inquest was told.

Mental health support worker, Tracey Cunduffe, told a hearing at Derby and South Derbyshire Coroner’s Court that Mr Cairns spoke to her about a dramatic change in circumstances and said he felt isolated living in Derbyshire.

He also complained about lack of access to his son Auden, aged 23 months, and talked about former partner Rachael Slack as though they would eventually move back in together, she told the jury. All three were found stabbed to death in a house at Well Yard, Holbrook on June 2, 2010.

The couple had split up and Ms Slack had a new boyfriend, Robert Barlow. They were expecting a child together, the hearing has already been told.

Miss Cunduffe worked for the Amber Trust, which works with mental health patients. She said she had seen Mr Cairns at his home in Belle Vue Avenue, Marehay, between November, 2009, and the time of his death.

Miss Cunduffe said: “I found him quite a cold person.

“He told me about his previous glamorous lifestyle as a golfer and how a previous wife had been a make-up artist in Hollywood and he bought a house with something like 20 bedrooms in France.

“I thought, ‘wow’ it was like he had this film-star lifestyle. But now he lived in social housing in a bungalow.”

Staff nurse Colin Shields, who treated Mr Cairns after he was voluntarily admitted into hospital for depression in August, 2009, said he had the impression that Mr Cairns regarded himself, Miss Slack and Auden as a “family unit”. “

Also at the inquest hearing this week, a psychologist told how Andrew Cairns pinpointed his mother’s death as the catalyst for his mental problems more than a year before the triple stabbings.

Dr Andrew Raynor said he saw Mr Cairns on a weekly basis for a total of about 22 times, starting in June, 2009.

During the sessions with Mr Cairns they explored what was behind his mental problems with help from Mr Cairn’s former partner, Rachael Slack, who also attended the appointments.

Other underlying problems which sparked Mr Cairns’ depression were the end of his golfing career, his relationship with his ex-wife and trying to maintain his property in Spain.

Mr Raynor told the jury: “He was very much focused on a period in his adult life beginning with the loss of his mother, which he pinpointed as the start of his difficulties with depression.”

During the meetings, Miss Slack said she had noticed Mr Cairns did not process events and paid the price mentally at a later point.

Dr Raynor continued: “She was curious as to why he hadn’t played golf since and didn’t talk about it or miss it.”

He added: “She contributed quite a bit. She was very confident at sharing her observations.”

During a home visit Dr Raynor noticed Mr Cairns’ house in Marehay was immaculately tidy and that he had a “tendency for perfection”. However, he attributed the behaviour to “obsessiveness rather than OCD”.

He said: “He wasn’t distressed by his need for perfection, it was just a preference.”

The sessions began in June, 2009, when Dr Raynor was appointed as care co-ordinator for Mr Cairns.

The hearing continues.

On July 7, Mr Cairns said that his property in Spain was close to being re-possessed and he couldn’t see a future without it.

Three weeks later Mr Cairns told Dr Raynor he was having “bizarre experiences” and bodily sensations in public places, which Dr Raynor said were panic attacks.

Dr Raynor said he also thought his patient suffered from agoraphobia, which prevented Mr Cairns from seeing his son.

“It was very difficult for him to travel to see Auden and he had been relying on Rachael,” he said.

The hearing continues.