Duffield stabbings: Inquest opens into couple's deaths

Helen Hancock and Martin Griffiths Image copyright Family photos
Image caption The bodies of Helen Hancock and Martin Griffiths were found by police on New Year's Day

A couple found dead at a home on New Year's Day suffered "multiple stab wounds" an inquest has heard.

Helen Hancock, 39, and partner Martin Griffiths, 48, were found by police in New Zealand Lane, Duffield, Derbyshire at about 04:00 GMT.

Ms Hancock's estranged husband, Rhys Hancock, 40, is charged with murder and is due back in court next month.

Inquests into the couple's deaths have been opened and adjourned at Chesterfield Coroner's Court.

During the hearing, senior coroner Dr Robert Hunter confirmed their names and said Ms Hancock had been working as a PE teacher at Fountains High School in Burton-on-Trent in Staffordshire.

Mr Griffiths was described in court as a local businessman.

Reading a pathologist's initial report into Ms Hancock's injuries, he said: "The examination identified multiple stab wounds including defensive type injuries, some of which were indicative of severe force.

"A knife was recovered from the abdomen. The whole of the knife being within the body.

"The examination identified blunt trauma to the right eye."

Image caption Police were called to the house in New Zealand Lane in the early hours of New Year's Day

He said Mr Griffiths suffered stab wounds to his left shoulder and right side of his neck, as well as "defensive type injuries".

A forensic pathologist said the provisional cause of death for both victims had been recorded as stab wounds.

The inquest has been adjourned for a later date pending the outcome of criminal proceedings.

Rhys Hancock, of Portland Street, Etwall has been remanded in custody and is next due to appear in court on 28 February.

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