Sunderland stab death man 'may have been abused by partner'

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image captionBarry Solomon was found with a leg wound at his home in Kemble Square, Sunderland, in 2017

A man who died from a stab wound may have been subjected to physical and verbal abuse at the hands of his partner, an inquest has heard.

Barry Solomon was found bleeding heavily at his Sunderland home in April 2017. He later died.

His partner Caroline Barker and three male youths were arrested as part of a murder inquiry, but no charges were brought.

The inquest also heard police claimed she lied about not being at the scene.

Pathologist Dr Peter Cooper told the inquest Mr Solomon, 42, suffered a stab wound to his thigh which "just nicked the side of an artery".

He said in a "large majority" of similar cases those injuries would have been caused by someone else.

But he added although Mr Solomon also had cuts to his hands and forearms they "were not distinctive of defence injuries".

'Insufficient evidence'

Det Ch Insp Andy Fairlamb, of Northumbria Police, told the inquest Mr Solomon's 39-year-old partner, who did not attend the inquest at Sunderland Civic Centre, was arrested at the scene.

He said during a subsequent interview, under caution, Ms Baker denied causing Mr Solomon's injuries.

She also initially told officers she came home to find Mr Solomon injured.

But he said CCTV proved she had "lied about that" and was in the house at the time he sustained his injuries.

The inquest heard officers considered they had sufficient evidence to charge Miss Barker with murder or manslaughter, but Det Ch Insp Fairlamb said the Crown Prosecution Service did not authorise a charge because there was "insufficient evidence to confidently demonstrate that Mr Solomon had not injured himself".

The inquest was told the force unsuccessfully appealed the decision.

Recording an open verdict, assistant coroner David Place said there was a suggestion Mr Solomon had been "subjected to physical and verbal abuse by his partner" and it was "very clear" Miss Barker had lied to police.

But he said he could not conclude "beyond a reasonable doubt" that he was unlawfully killed or died due to an accident.

In a statement, Mr Solomon's family said he was "loyal, happy and hard working".

Northumbria Police said it respected the outcome of the inquest but would investigate if new information came to light.

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