Derbyshire couple died from multiple stab wounds

A Derbyshire couple found dead at a property on New Year’s Day died from multiple stab wounds, an inquest heard.

Tuesday, 14th January 2020, 12:04 pm
Martin Griffiths and Helen Hancock

Dr Robert Hunter, Derbyshire and Derby area senior coroner, today opened the inquests into local businessman Martin Griffiths, aged 48, and Helen Hancock, a 39-year-old teacher.

The inquest heard they were both married, but estranged from their partners, and were found at Mrs Hancock’s home on New Zealand Lane, Duffield, in the early hours of New Year’s Day.

Outlining the circumstances of her death, Detective Inspector Steve Shaw, of Derbyshire Police’s major investigations team, told Chesterfield Coroner’s Court: “On January 1, she was found at her home address with Mr Griffiths, in her bedroom.

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“Both had suffered stab wounds to their bodies.”

Rhys Hancock was later arrested and charged with the murders of both Mrs Hancock and Mr Griffiths.

Reading a statement from Dr Stuart Hamilton, a Home Office pathologist who examined Mrs Hancock and Mr Griffiths, of Fairbourne Drive, Mickleover, Dr Hunter said both suffered multiple stab wounds and there was evidence of defensive injuries, with some of Mrs Hancock’s inflicted with “considerable force”.

The inquest heard a knife was recovered at the scene.

Dr Hunter said Dr Hamilton gave the cause of death for both as stab wounds.

Suspending the inquests to a later date, Dr Hunter said: “As someone has been charged with the murders of Mrs Hancock and Mr Griffiths, I suspend the inquests pending the outcome of the criminal trial.”

Mrs Hancock was a PE teacher at Fountains High School, Burton-upon-Trent.

Her family described her as a "lovely, beautiful, friendly, bubbly and social person".

Mr Griffiths was said by his family to be "a lovely dad, husband, son, brother and uncle who had a passion for adventure, running and a love of animals".

Rhys Hancock, 39, of Portland Street, Etwall, Derbyshire, appeared before Derby Crown Court on January 6, charged with the pair’s murders.

The case was adjourned for trial in August and he was remanded in custody.