Man murdered wife he wrongly thought had cheated and their kids – then jumped to his death

Paul Newman, 42, battered wife Geraldine, 51, to death with a hammer before fatally stabbing his son Shane, six, and daughter Shannon, 11

A man who murdered his estranged wife and two young children jumped to his death from a cliff where he had proposed 17 years earlier.

Paul Newman, 42, battered wife Geraldine, 51, to death with a hammer and then stabbed his son and daughter to death, the hearing was told.

He murdered them after wrongly believing Geraldine was cheating on him with another man.

He then took a 180 mile train journey from Leeds, West Yorks, to the Isle of Anglesey in Wales and threw himself from the top of a 240ft cliff, where he had proposed years earlier.

The bodies of Geraldine and their children, Shannon, 11, and Shane, six, were discovered at the family home Allerton Bywater near Leeds on February 2, 2016.

Unemployed driver Newman’s body was found at the bottom of the cliff in Wales the same day.

Wakefield Coroner’s Court heard Newman had struck his wife in the head with a hammer at least three times then laid her body out on the living room sofa and covered it with a duvet.

He stabbed Shannon and Shane in the chest and neck 22 times and then laid their bodies on a bed and covered them with a duvet, a statue of Jesus, rosary beads and crosses, the court heard.

Officers recovered a note from the scene that detailed “how much he loved” his children.

Corner Kevin McLoughlin said: “Geraldine Newman was unlawfully killed along with her two young children at their home.

“No one foresaw what was going to happen. There were no explicit threats.

“In hindsight we can see that a relatively isolated individual was overwhelmed by a situation that would have deprived him of his children.

“You can only lament that had he voiced the demons in his head that might have precipitated some change.

“Anyone harbouring dark thoughts should tell someone about the problem.

“I hope that anyone who might hear about this sad case can see that problems that threaten to engulf them can be conquered in time.”

Newman was jailed in for 17 weeks in October 2013 for assault by battery on Geraldine after he read texts on her phone from another man, the court heard.

Geraldine allowed him to return to the family home after his release from prison before banishing him in December 2015.

Just weeks before the horrific killings Geraldine, who had separated from her husband but had not yet divorced him, text a member of Newman’s family saying she was “terrified”, the court heard.

He was on anti-depressants and suffered from OCD, which is something he was seeking medical advice about at the time of the attacks, the court heard.

Retired detective Paul Johnston, who carried out a review of the agencies that dealt with the Newman family, said the killer likely carried out the attack because he thought his wife had left him to be with another man.

He added that there was no evidence to suggest his suspicions were accurate.

Giving evidence, Richard Smith of West Yorkshire Police, said: “There had been several problems in the relationship which she had sought professional help for.”

Mr Smith said on the day of the killings Newman contacted the children’s schools and Geraldine’s workplace, a Wilkos shop, to say they would not be attending.

After committing the horrific murders on the morning of February 1, Newman took a train from Leeds to Holyhead and then went to a set of cliffs called Mousetrap Zawn in South Stack.

He is thought to have jumped from the clifftop at around 8pm that day and his body was recovered in the early hours of February 2 by the coastguard after some walkers found some of his clothing and notified police.

Geraldine, Shannon and Shane were discovered the same day a friend of Geraldine’s who had become worried about her whereabouts.

The court heard a female paramedic who attended the address had to take a number of months off work with PTSD as a result of what she saw.

Rita Farley, Newman’s sister, described her brother as a “caring” and “kind” person who would “never argue with anyone”.

She confirmed the clifftop Newman jumped from was the same spot he had proposed to Geraldine 17 years earlier.

The coroner concluded Newman’s death was the result of suicide.

He said Paul fell 240ft onto rocks, meaning death was a “virtual certainty” and although it was extremely windy he rejected the possibility that he had been blown off the cliff or pushed.

He said: “Paul was found wearing only underpants and socks and had taken off his red jacket.

“That’s far from compatible, in my judgement, with the theory that he had been blown off the cliff edge as he had somehow been standing too close.”

He added: “We also note the horrific scene of brutality in the family home, when trying to explain the inclination of someone to attempt to atone by taking their own life.

Overall the conclusion I reach is that I am sure that Paul Francis Newman deliberately fell to his death from a cliff top in darkness on February 1, intending the result of his death.”