A MAN committed suicide hours after he stabbed his former partner in an early-morning attack, severing an artery in her neck, an inquest has heard.

Jerzy Tomkowski, 56, originally from Poland, was found hanged at his home in Darlington on May 11 by police investigating an attack on Iwona Kokiol, who was stabbed several times as she left her house to go to work at 5am.

The attack was witnessed by Ms Kokiol’s children, aged ten and 15, who were woken by their mother’s screams.

An inquest into Mr Tomkowski’s death heard that he and Ms Kokiol, 34, had been in a long-term relationship but had broken up a month earlier amid accusations of domestic violence and controlling behaviour by Mr Tomkowski.

The attack on Ms Kokiol, and Mr Tomkowski’s death, was investigated by Detective Sergeant Dave Wilkes, from Durham Police’s major crimes team, who gave evidence at the inquest at Crook Coroner’s Court.

He told the court that police were alerted by residents of Holmwood Grove, in the Harrowgate Hill area of Darlington, after they were woken by Ms Kokiol’s screams.

He said: “As Iwona left her home, Jerzy Tomkowski approached her and inflicted several injuries with a knife. A colleague who had arrived to give her a lift to work saw Iwona with a male – there appeared to be a struggle between the two.

“Iwona suffered significant blood loss and her injuries were described as life-threatening. In particular, a wound to her neck severed an artery and officers thought they could be dealing with a fatal attack.

“Iwona is still in the process of recovery and has told us that she cannot recall anything of the attack, possibly due to the blood loss she sustained.

“Her full prognosis is not known but she has difficulties in communicating.”

Det Sgt Wilkes praised Ms Kokiol’s 15-year-old daughter, who rushed to help her mother and identified her attacker as Mr Tomkowski.

Police went to his flat in Skerries Walk, off Whinbush Way, where he was found dead at 8am.

Officers contacted members of his family in Poland and Germany who said that while Mr Tomkowski was upset at the end of his relationship, he had given no indication he was planning to harm himself or anyone else.

A post-mortem examination found he died as a result of hanging.

Crispin Oliver, deputy coroner for County Durham, recorded a verdict of suicide.