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Murder of man, 20, linked to death of three others who took their own lives

Three suicides after murder
Damien Bendelow (left) ‘was like a son’ to James Murchison (right) (Picture: BPM Media & Nick Irving of Exeter)

The murder of a man who was stabbed outside a pub has been linked to the deaths of three others who all took their own lives.

Damien Bendelow, 20, was knifed after a fight in Liskeard, Cornwall, in January last year. His killer, Carl Smythe, was found dead in his cell at Strangeways prison earlier this month.

Another man, Smythe’s friend Mark Jackson, killed himself in June last year after being charged with assisting an offender.

And now an inquest in Cornwall has concluded that a third man, James Murchison, took his own life after being left devastated by the death of Mr Bendelow, whom he treated like a son.

His wife Serena told the hearing at Truro’s County Hall that the younger man’s death had a huge impact on her husband, who was already suffering with anxiety and depression.

The court heard the 45-year-old told her: ‘I can’t do it anymore.’

Murder of man, 20, linked to death of three others who took their own lives
An inquest heard James Murchison was devastated by the death of Mr Bendelow (Picture: BPM Media)
Damien Bendelow - A man took his own life after being deeply affected by the death of a young murder victim whom he treated like a son, an inquest has heard. James Murchison, 45, was found dead at the Liskeard home of his sister on February 20 last year, a hearing at County Hall, Truro, was told today (May 26). The inquest heard that James treated Damien Bendelow, who he
Damien Bendelow was stabbed to death outside a Liskeard pub in January 2020 (Picture: BPM Media)

She said her husband had gone to live with his sister and her partner because she was finding it difficult to cope with his heavy drinking and drug use, Cornwall Live reports.

Mrs Murchison went on: ‘Soon after James moved out Damien was killed on a night out in Liskeard.

‘This had a big effect on James – he and Damien were really close. James liked to take people under his wing and they had a kind of son and father relationship.

‘James moved back home and for two weeks he was stable and keeping it together, but he went back to being out of control. He kept saying “I can’t do it anymore, the family’s broken”.’

During the police investigation into his death, officers found a note written by him in his sister’s diary saying he wanted to die, the hearing was told.

Senior coroner for Cornwall Andrew Cox, who recorded a conclusion of suicide, noted that James had become particularly anxious and depressed following Damien’s death.

A separate inquest into Smythe’s death will be held in due course, according to Cornwall Live.

Face of a killer: Police release mugshot of Damien Bendelow's murderer Carl Smythe stabbed Damien Bendelow to death after a fight in a pub in January
Carl Smythe, was found dead in his cell at Strangeways prison earlier this month (Picture: Devon and Cornwall Police)

During a preliminary hearing at Manchester Coroners’ Court earlier this month, it was noted that there were no suspicious circumstances or third party involvement.

Smythe, 46, was jailed for life with a minimum term of 21 years after being convicted of murder.

Mr Jackson, 55, died at his home in Liskeard in June 2020.

An inquest into his death back in March heard he was due to go on trial accused of assisting an offender the following month.

The coroner ruled he died as a result of hanging.

Giving evidence, police said no suicide note was found at his flat, but there were notes referring to Mr Bendelow’s death.

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