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Last words of wife killer: I cannot face it any more.

Byline: ROSS MCCARTHY Court Reporter

A KILLER husband who stabbed his wife to death before setting fire to himself explained in his suicide note: "I cannot face it any more. This is the final straw."

James Barnes's burning body was discovered by his brother in the back garden of his parents' house in Linforth Drive, Streetly, an inquest was told.

He had sent a text saying "Love you bruv. I am going for a long sleep."

Barnes, 30, plunged a knife into wife Amy's neck as she slept on September 26. He left the scene, stopped at a filling station to buy petrol, and drove along the M5 to his mum and dad's house, where he had a meal with his father and watched football on TV.

He then asked for a pen and some paper and also posted messages on his Facebook page.

Notes to his parents and brother were later found, saying "I have made a lot of wrong decisions. I cannot face it any more. This is the final straw."

Brother Christopher Barnes said he raced to the scene just after midnight and found his brother at the side of the house, face down near a petrol can.

Detective Inspector Caroline Corfield said following this incident police went to the Barnes's marital home in Cofton Park Close, Rednal.

There, nurse Amy Barnes, 32, had earlier been found dead by her mother on her bed.

"She had suffered a wound to her neck and the knife was still embedded in the wound, " she said.

On the bed there were also a blue notebook and a number of handwritten notes.

The notes were very emotional and disclosed the breakdown of the relationship.

In one of them, Mr Barnes had written, "I cannot do this. I am so sorry. I love you all. It is too much. Goodbye. James."

Inquiries revealed that the couple had previously attended two Relate sessions in a bid to save their marriage.

They had also gone on a holiday to Brighton, but it had been cut short after Amy told her husband the marriage was over and she did not love him anymore.

Notes from the Relate sessions showed Mr Barnes had struggled to accept this, and described himself as a "failure in his life, his career and marriage."

Pathologist Nicholas Hunt said: "The distribution of burns would be consistent with self-immolation with an accelerant such as petrol." The cause of death, he said, was burns and the inhalation of toxic fumes.

Recording a verdict of suicide, coroner Louise Hunt said: "The breakdown of that relationship had a very profound effect on him. Between around 9.50am and 2.30pm he had unlawfully killed his wife following the breakdown of their marriage a few days before."

'He was not bad, just in a very dark place' BROTHER Christopher Barnes said: "James was not a bad person. He was a good son and brother.

"He was very passionate and loved his wife deeply and sincerely. It is hard for us to comprehend.

"He was in a downward spiral and was in a very dark place. There is no justification for what he did."

At an inquest into Amy's death, reported in yesterday's Birmingham Mail, her mother, Valerie Shimmal, said there had been no history of domestic violence.

James Barnes had never threatened to hurt his wife, and she was not in fear of him. "It was very civil and Amy said James was in the process of moving his stuff out," she said.

Coroner Louise Hunt concluded that Amy had been killed unlawfully.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Dec 21, 2017
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