A MAN who found the body of his mentally-ill girlfriend after she took an overdose struck up a whirlwind relationship with one of her carers within weeks of her death, an inquest heard.
Less than a month after Paul Garrett-Vine's partner Theresa Smith died at their Jordanthorpe home on September 30 last year, the 39-year-old proposed marriage to Jane Wyman, the Sheffield inquest was told.
Assistant Deputy Coroner Robert Forrest heard Jane was a mental health inpatient at the time, after she had attempted suicide following the death of her daughter.
The inquest heard Mr Garrett-Vine had contacted The Star in November complaining health bosses were refusing to give Jane day release from a secure mental health unit.
PC Gavin Hoddinott, one of the officers who investigated Theresa's death, said Mr Garrett-Vine was supposed to have been a witness at the inquest but officers were unable to trace him.
He added Mr Garrett-Vine's brother Sean Vine, a South Yorkshire Police officer, told him he had "disappeared from the radar" following their grandmother's death in January.
He added Sean Vine believed his brother had split up with Jane.
In a statement read to the inquest Mr Garrett-Vine told police Theresa had gone to their bedroom to drink, while he watched DVDs in the living room. When he went to bed in the early hours of the morning he found her cold and lifeless, and called an ambulance.
The inquest heard Theresa, aged 29, had a history of self harm and depression, stemming from a traumatic childhood. Medical experts believed her previous overdoses and self harm were a way of relieving her mental anguish, rather than an attempt to end her life.
Her final overdose included strong tablets she'd just started taking and she had not opened instructions saying they could be fatal if mixed with alcohol.
Recording a narrative verdict, Mr Forrest said Theresa died after taking an overdose while intoxicated with alcohol but there was no evidence she intended to kill herself.
After the inquest, Theresa's family said they were stunned to discover Mr Garrett-Vine was seeing Jane. Linda Fearnley, the grandmother of Theresa's daughter, told The Star: "The first time we met Paul, we thought he was very genuine.
"I was devastated to hear he was with Jane so soon after what happened to Theresa."
She added Mr Garrett-Vine told mourners at Grenoside Crematorium he was planning to marry Theresa, his girlfriend of five months, at her funeral in October.
After the hearing Mr Garrett-Vine contacted The Star and said he had been unaware of the inquest.
He said he and Jane had married in December and were still together and living in Deepcar.
He confirmed he and Theresa had planned to marry before her death.
He added: "I had known Jane for some time and we'd both lost somebody. We became close through that. There was nothing underhand."
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