Burnley man hanged himself in prison cell after double murder charge

Barry Morrow
Barry Morrow
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A MOTHER and daughter were killed by a Burnley man who invented a “Russian spy” story to cover his tracks then killed himself, an inquest heard.

Lodger Barry Morrow (52) was found hanged in his cell while awaiting trial over the deaths of Angela Holgate (54) and Alice Huyton (75), whose strangled bodies were found at Mrs Holgate’s home in Southport on December 3rd.

At the inquest into the deaths of the two women, Sefton Coroner Mr Christopher Sumner was told that police believe Morrow killed the women and that there was no evidence anybody else was involved. He returned a verdict of unlawful killing.

Giving evidence, Det. Chief Insp. Alyson O’Donnell, of Merseyside Police, said Mrs Holgate and Morrow had been lovers before he moved into her semi-detached house as a paying lodger.

The officer told the hearing, at Southport Town Hall, that Mrs Holgate had hoped to resume the relationship but Morrow had refused and she was thinking of asking him to move out.

On November 25th the couple went to the Lake District for a two-night break but suddenly returned home the next day, with Morrow telling hotel staff they had to attend a family emergency.

It was the last time Tesco worker Mrs Holgate, the mother of two daughters, was seen alive.

The next day, November 29th, Mrs Holgate’s daughter Kerry Hyde texted her mother and asked how she was.

“Morrow telephoned Kerry and told her Angela was ill with bronchiolitis and that the doctor had been out and said that the disease was airborne,” Mrs O’Donnell said.

By December 1st Mrs Holgate’s mother and other daughter Laura Holgate were also “extremely concerned” that nobody had spoken to her.

The following day, Mrs Huyton packed an overnight bag and told her husband James that she was going to their daughter’s house to look after her.

At 4-30 p.m. on Saturday, December 3rd, James Huyton called at the house concerned that he had not heard from his wife or daughter. Getting no reply, he walked to Kerry’s house nearby and her husband Colin set off to Mrs Holgate’s house to check everything was all right. He found the two women lying on the bed side-by-side, face down and fully clothed, Mrs O’Donnell said.

Post-mortem examinations carried out by a Home Office pathologist revealed that Mrs Holgate had been suffocated.

The pathologist said the cause of Mrs Huyton’s death was “compression of the neck and blocking of the airways.”

Morrow was charged with the murders and remanded into custody to await trial. He was found hanged in his cell at HMP Prison, formerly Strangeways, in February.