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Man who killed ex partner plunged to his death from Kilburn tower block

PUBLISHED: 15:34 02 February 2011

Suspicious death in Willesden

Suspicious death in Willesden

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Unemployed Keith Van Cooten stabbed Amanda Farquharson twice before kiling himself

A woman who was stabbed to death by her ‘on-off’ boyfriend had complained to police that he had harassed her, a coroner’s court has heard.

Amanda Farquharson, 34, of Wilton Avenue, Wembley was seen to be stabbed several times by her former boyfriend and father of her youngest daughter, Keith Van Cooten, as they sat in her black Toyota Yaris in Minet Avenue, Harlesden on October 15 last year.

The mother of two, who was studying to become a beauty therapist at the College of North West London, was found slumped against the driver’s seat shortly before 6.30pm. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Less than an hour later, Keith Van Cooten, of Courthill Road, Lewisham, was found dead at the foot of Toridon House in Randolph Gardens, Kilburn. He had plunged seven storeys in a suspected suicide.

The pair has split in 2000 following the birth of their daughter, but remained in daily contact.

Westminster Coroner’s Court heard how just hours before she was killed, Ms Farquharson had agreed her mother that she and her daughters would move in with her, as she was growing worried about Mr Van Cooten’s behaviour.

Police labelled the relationship ‘turbulent’ and revealed that the mother of two had made numerous harassment complaints against her former boyfriend dating back to 2004.

Detective Inspector Andrew Chalmers, from the homicide unit, said: “It had been a turbulent relationship.

“There had been a number of reported incidents and in 2004 there was an assault allegation that was not substantiated by the victim.

“There were a number of other harassment and incidents.”

While no complaints were made after 2008, DI Chalmers added: “Enquiries with friends and family indicate that these issues were still alive.”

Hours before the stabbing a neighbour of Ms Farquharson said Mr Van Cooten had looked ‘incoherent’, and friends told police that he had threatened to commit suicide after losing his plumbing job.

Det Ins Chalmers said: “He had become increasingly erratic and mentioned speaking to a witch doctor and members of the occult.

“Friends said he was very low. He was no longer in employment, he had relationship problems and felt that his relationship with Amanda, with whom he had children and wanted to rekindle, was breaking up.”

After the stabbing Mr Van Cooten travelled to Toridon House where witnesses said he looked ‘wired’.

Two 17-year-old girls said they saw him ‘on a spot turning in circles’, and sniffed one of their necks – they were about to call the police to when he fell.

Another man spotted him on the balcony, and moments later heard a scream. When he looked back the father of two had gone.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Coroner Dr Shirley Radcliffe returned a verdict of unlawful killing in relation to the death of Ms Farquharson. Her cause of death was given as haemorrhage due to stab wounds to the heart.

She returned an open verdict in Van Cooten’s case as she ‘could not be sure’ he had intended to kill himself.

In a moving tribute read out by the coroner Dr Shirley Radcliffe, her family said she was a “loving, kind and sincere human being whose life was cut short at a time at a time when she had so much to live for.

“She had much to look forward to.

“She will never be forgotten by those who loved her dearly.”


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