Ex-detective killed himself in cell after murdering York-born wife

Darlington and Stockton Times: Detective Constable Heather Cooper, originally from the Acomb area of York Detective Constable Heather Cooper, originally from the Acomb area of York

A FORMER detective jailed for murdering his partner in front of their two young children committed suicide in his prison cell, a jury has concluded.

Peter Foster was found hanging at Lewes Prison in the early hours of July 30, 2012, while he was on the acute healthcare ward, the inquest was told.

He had been jailed for life a month earlier and told he must serve a minimum of 17 years for hitting York-born Detective Constable Heather Cooper, 33, over the head 10 times with a baseball bat and stabbing her in the throat at their home in Haslemere, Surrey, before dumping her body in a shallow grave in Blackdown Woods, near Lurgashall, West Sussex.

The inquest at Eastbourne Town Hall heard that Foster had made several attempts on his life since 2009, including two while he was on remand, and that his death was "inevitable".

Up until five days before his death he had been on the highest level of observation, in a cell with a perspex door, because he was deemed a high suicide risk, the jury was told.

But just days after he was moved to another cell where his observations were relaxed to every hour, he was found dead, the inquest heard.

Foster's friend Jonathon Carver said Foster, 36, was "full of remorse" for what had happened and he believed his friend had made his mind up about dying before he was sentenced.

After the hearing, a Prison Service spokesman said: "We are committed to reducing the numbers of self-inflicted deaths in custody and will consider the findings of the inquest to see what lessons can be learned, in addition to the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman's investigation."

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