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Inquest hears of 'temporary insanity' of Sway man Peter Tillman, accused of attempted murder bid

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A PENSIONER who hanged himself before going on trial for the attempted murder of his girlfriend in a deliberate car crash may have been suffering from “temporary insanity”, an inquest heard.

Peter Tillman (73), from Sway, took his own life just three days before the court case in which was accused of trying to kill his partner by ploughing his Jaguar into a Mini on the A337 between Lyndhurst and Brockenhurst on 20th August 2019.

Both his girlfriend and the driver of the Mini were taken to hospital suffering minor injuries.

The hearing was held at Winchester Coroners' Court
The hearing was held at Winchester Coroners' Court

Mr Tillman, a member of Mensa who lived in Manchester Road, was arrested. He was due to stand trial on 6th April 2021 at Salisbury Crown Court.

At Winchester Coroner's Court this week, his daughter Susan Tillman said that what her father had done did not “seem real in any way, shape or form”, adding: “It is like someone telling me about a movie they have watched.”

She said that he had accepted that “he did crash the car deliberately” although he had pleaded not guilty to attempted murder.

As reported in the A&T, former Flying Squad detective Dick Thorne, who came across the crash, said he had found Mr Tillman trying to strangle his partner as they sat in the vehicle, but this was not referred to at the inquest.

Mrs Tillman told the hearing that while on remand in prison, a psychiatric assessment concluded that he had been "suffering from some form of temporary insanity” at the time of the incident.

It was revealed at the inquest that Mr Tillman had attempted suicide in jail, jumping from a balcony causing “life-changing injuries”.

Mrs Tillman said this had left him “fearful” that he would not be able to continue with his love of horse riding.

Mr Tillman, who his daughter said “struggled with relationships”, was granted bail in March 2020 and had carers look after him at home.

But she said that both she and her sister, Imogen Harrison, had not had “any hint” that their father was thinking of killing himself.

Mrs Tillman said her father had been feeling “positive” about the court case.

But she said he was “concerned that if he got found guilty, he probably would have to spend the rest of his life in prison, which for anybody is a horrendous thought”.

The inquest heard how a carer found Mr Tillman hanging at his home. He had left two letters: one to his daughters and one to a lady called Deborah.

Concluding that Mr Tillman had committed suicide, Coroner Jason Pegg said the car crash “seemed to have been completely out of character” but added: “We are not here to decide if he committed an offence or not.”

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