I can’t help thinking that selfishness, which incidentally is NOT named as one of the seven mortal sins, is one of the worst sins of all. It makes us stop thinking straight. We lose empathy. We stifle conscience and we just go ahead and DO. Whatever. To the detriment of…we can’t be bothered.
For me, the “self” took over in the story below, leading to the tragic annihilation of an entire family. First the woman acted selfishly with her affair (she should have thought about her son if nothing else). The man acted selfishly when he succumbed to his wounded ego (he forgot he was leaving a son behind). The little boy? No selfishness there in my opinion. He just succumbed to his pain.
Ultimately, one selfish act spiralled out of control and ruined four lives: the woman’s, her lover’s, her husband’s, and her son’s. The fact that divorce proceedings had already commenced apparently made no difference to the scorned husband who simply felt his wife had cheated on him.
- Jack Williams, 16, killed himself on the same spot that his father died
- He had been left devastated following his father’s death
- Police were called to inquest after angry scenes between family members
- Father Darren Williams shot wife Rachel with a double-barreled shotgun
- She had been working at Carol Ann’s Hair Stylist in Newport, South Wales
- He then fled scene and hanged himself in woodland near couple’s home
By JAYMI MCCANN
A schoolboy hanged himself at the spot where his father died after shooting his mother with a shotgun, an inquest has heard.
Before he killed himself, Jack Williams, 16, sent a text message to his dead father, Darren, saying ‘I love you so much Da’.
Mr Williams was found dead at the same spot five weeks earlier after shooting his estranged wife Rachel in the legs when he discovered she had cheated on him with his solicitor.
Jack’s final text message – sent to his aunt’s phone – was read at an inquest into his hanging.
It said: ‘I hope where you are you can see this message and know that I love you more than anything in this world.
‘I really do hope you are at peace and I will definitely see you one day. I really hope it comes soon because I don’t know how long I can live without you.’
Jack was found dead after going to visit the woods where his father’s ashes had been scattered.
The inquest heard Jack tried to ‘remain neutral’ when his parents Darren and Rachel Williams broke up.
But he was devastated when his lorry driver father stormed into the hairdressing salon where Rachel, 39, worked, armed with a sawn-off shotgun.
Williams blasted Mrs Williams from point blank range shouting ‘Rachel, I love you’ – then fled to a woodland beauty spot where he hanged himself.
Police were called to the inquest when insults were hurled across the courtroom by different sides of the family.
Court officials had to restrain relatives and two family members had to be escorted outside while tempers calmed down.
Mrs Williams, who survived the gun blast, did not attend the hearing in Newport, South Wales.
Her husband’s inquest revealed he shot her after discovering she was cheating on him with his solicitor.
In a statement Mrs Williams said: ‘It was apparent that Jack was trying to make an equal relationship with me and his father.
‘When Jack saw me in hospital after the shooting he said: “I don’t know why he’d do it” and we kept in contact by text and telephone calls.’
But the inquest heard Mrs Williams had sent a text message to Jack saying: ‘Pack your bags and go and live with the hypocrites’ – referring to her husband’s family.
He said Jack slept on a sofa downstairs because his dead father slept in the upstairs bed in the weeks after his marriage split.
His wife Rachael, Jack’s aunt and the sister of Darren Williams, was also present.
The inquest in Newport heard that relations between the mother’s and father’s sides of the family broke down after the shooting.
Mrs Williams remained in hospital for more than a month after the attack and underwent extensive surgery on a leg injured in the blast.
She had communications with her son while he was living with his father’s sister and her partner in Cwmbran.
Earlier, the inquest heard that, when the teenager first visited the family home in Newport, he slashed his wrists.
At the time his mother was still in hospital and had not returned to live at the address.
After the attempt Jack alerted his aunt, Rachael Davies, to what he had done by sending a text which read: ‘I am Rach I cannot live without him.’
He was taken to hospital for treatment but the attempt was described repeatedly today as a ‘cry for help’ by the teenager, a view expressed by his mother in her statement.
In evidence read to the inquest, Mrs Williams said she received ‘abusive texts’ from her husband’s family and increasingly hostile ones from her son.
She said at the time she was concerned that her son was being ‘unduly influenced by Darren’s family’.
Her son was arrested by police after a complaint about his behaviour from a member of his mother’s side of the family.
The teenager’s best friend Alistair Yates also said his mother had complained to him in a text that he was ‘harassing’ her.
The inquest heard that ‘vile texts’ had been sent by both sides at various times, some of which were assumed to have been seen by Jack.
Mr Yates said: ‘On the day Jack died he said he was going to visit his dad’s ashes which had been scattered in the woods.
‘He said he wanted to be alone.
‘There was no indication he was going to kill himself or take his own life.’
Mr Davies told the inquest: ‘Jack was a remarkable young boy who showed so much courage, dignity and respect and was wise beyond his years.
‘He was a credit to his mother and his father. But the enormity of the situation was too much for him.’
One family member asked Mr Davies in the witness box whether Mrs Williams had urged her son to hang himself using rope bought by his father.
Alan Rowe, who described himself as the teenager’s ‘great uncle’, was then allowed to ask Mr Davies about comments allegedly made by Mrs Williams.
‘Is it true, Mr Davies, that Mrs Rachel Williams from Brynglas Drive did say to Jack “There is some rope left there, go and use it”?’
Mr Davies replied: ‘I cannot say if it is true or untrue.’
The allegation was not explored further and Mr Davies moved on to speak of the teenager’s struggle to come to terms with his father’s death.
‘He was very confused. He loved his mother and he loved his father. He was trying to make sense of things, but he was only 16,’ he told the inquest.
Jack’s text message to his father was sent to his aunt’s mobile phone and read to the court by his grandad Bill Smillie.
Gwent Coroner David Bowen said: ‘This is such a tragic death and his death should never have occurred.
‘I am satisfied at the time he was suffering from depression – not only had his parents’ marriage broken down but then came his father’s death.
‘He was clearly a very troubled young man and was able to conceal the depths of despair from friends, family and health professionals.
He recorded a verdict of suicide.
After the case his grandmother Barbara Smillie, 65, said: ‘Jack and his father did everything together. they went for long walks and went rabbiting.
‘When his father died he was devastated – it destroyed him inside and I’m not surprised he did this in the end.
‘Their favourite greeting was: “I am you, you are me, together we are”.’
Mrs Williams, who described her husband as ‘jealous, controlling and possessive’, had previously said: ‘I considered my marriage to be over and started divorce proceedings.
‘Then while on a night out I met a man, a solicitor, who had in the past acted for Darren on criminal matters. I was unfaithful to my marriage vows with this person.
‘One of Darren’s friends had learned about my brief affair and had threatened to tell Darren if I didn’t. I did not tell him but I believe someone must have done.’
A separate inquest heard Mrs Williams wrestled the gun from her lorry driver husband before he ran from the salon.
The attack left her with serious injuries needing a ten-hour operation to save her left leg and extensive reconstructive surgery.
Days before the shooting, Mr Williams had been arrested following reports that he had threatened to kill the solicitor that his wife had slept with.
Mrs Williams said that her husband was a violent and jealous man.
She said: ‘As long as he got his own way he was okay, he was intimidating and knew that where I was concerned he could do what he liked. Darren was on steroids and anti-depressants which made him violent and unpredictable.’
Her husband was also on bail for domestic assault charges when he shot his wife.
He had appeared at Newport Crown Court on gun charges and engaged a local solicitor with whom his wife later allegedly started an affair.
Williams’s sister, Lisa Edwards said the day before the shooting he had told her: ‘I’m going to get Rachel back for what she did to me.
‘I’m going to get my revenge, I don’t want to kill her I want to shoot both of her legs. I’m going to go bang bang.’