Belfast Telegraph

Antrim man killed wife and himself

By Michael McHugh

A man strangled his estranged wife with a towel then killed himself, an inquest has heard.

Jealous doorman Philip Hull, 34, left mother-of-three Sharon Hull with severe head injuries and lying in the hallway of their house in Antrim. He was found in his car in a nearby park with a hose running from the exhaust into the vehicle.

They had separated after he had an affair but months later he was afraid of his wife seeing another man and breached a non-molestation order to attack her in October 2010.

Belfast coroner's court heard that he confessed to a shocked friend: "I have held her in my arms. She is dead."

A text message to his wife's twin sister simply said: "sorry."

Mrs Hull, 33, had returned from a night out with her sister Siobohan Laverty in Belfast when she was attacked at home in Carnbeg Meadows, Antrim. Earlier that night she had been receiving multiple text messages from Mr Hull asking why she was going out and who she was with.

Their relationship had fallen apart after she discovered her husband, who also worked at Wright's Coachworks, had been having an affair while away with work in Las Vegas.

They went to counselling but concluded not long before her death that the relationship could not be salvaged.

Whenever Mr Hull was again in Las Vegas he saw from her Facebook page that the accountant had been on a night out with her workmates from Ernst and Young and had become jealous. He returned home early and became of concern to his wife and family.

Mrs Laverty said: "She felt she could not go to work without Philip turning up and hassling her colleagues."

She obtained the non-molestation order.

On the night of her death she had been at Ollie's nightclub in Belfast city centre with her sister and they spent most of the night dancing. She had taken a little alcohol and was driven home with her sister by a friend, Jonathan Deehan.

According to Mrs Laverty, her sister had "alluded" to the fact she had been on a date with a guy called Jonny and Mr Hull seemed to "take it quite well".

Mr Deehan told the court that after he arrived home from dropping off Mrs Hull he received a call from her saying that her husband had been in contact, that he had been drinking and he had mentioned about her being with him. Then the phone went dead.

When he rang back a man answered and asked him did he know his wife.

"I heard Sharon in the background saying: Philip, you should not be here now," he recalled.

He decided it was not for him to get involved and hung up. Later he was unable to get through.

Pathologist professor Jack Crane said she had suffered two blows to the head and then was strangled by hand and using the towel. She could have died from either the head injury or strangulation.

Michael McNabb worked with Mr Hull at Walsh's Hotel in Maghera and told the court he received a phone call from him at 2.40am on the morning of the murder.

Mr Hull said: "I am going to tell you something. You don't want to hear it. I have to tell someone. I have killed Sharon."

He added: "I have held her in my arms. She is dead."

Mr McNabb could hear his friend was in a car.

Mr Hull said: "I cannot go on. I cannot go on. Sharon was telling me about the bouncer. She was seeing him, and the things they were doing.

"I cannot go on. I cannot live without Sharon."

Mr Hull said he could not believe what he had heard.

"Sharon and the family was Phil's life. Life revolved around the family and everything else was second," he said.

Mr Hull had suffered from depression, drank too much and, according to Mr McNabb, was constantly on a caffeine-fuelled adrenaline rush.

Leo Kennedy, who also worked with Mr Hull, told the inquest he received a text the morning of the killing.

"Tell your mate Jonny he will not see Sharon again," it said.

The victim's twin Mrs Laverty discovered her body at home. Mr Hull was found by walker Heather Boyd at Duncan's car park at Tardree Forest in Kells, Antrim.

Coroner Brian Sherrard said he died from his own act, poisoned by carbon monoxide, having killed his wife earlier that morning.

Belfast Telegraph


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