A dad-of-two stabbed his ex-partner to death before killing himself after being left “destroyed” by their break-up, an inquest heard.
Daniel Patten, 31, killed his former girlfriend, Regan Tierney, at the home they once shared in Walkden in June 2019. In the moments after, he phoned her grandad and confessed to what he’d done – telling him he needed to collect their two children.
A short time later Mr Patten called the police and told them he was going to hang himself. He was later found critically injured by officers who attended the scene, and died in hospital a few days later.
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An inquest at Bolton Coroner’s Court heard that Mr Patten had been left “heartbroken” and “destroyed” after Miss Tierney, 27, ended their decade-long relationship. In the days leading up to the tragedy, the court heard that he had discovered Regan had formed a new relationship with another man.
His family told the hearing that despite his devastation, Daniel’s attitude to life had in fact started to improve, and he was making plans for the future such as moving into a new flat, and applying for a promotion at work.
But in the early hours of June 5, 2019, despite telling his dad he was getting an early night, Mr Patten drove his Vauxhall Astra to Regan’s home on Manchester Road. The court heard he let himself into the property through the garage – for which he still had a key – and stabbed his former partner to death.
After making the call to Miss Tierney’s grandad, her father David, rushed to the house where he found his daughter fatally injured in her bedroom. It was only when police arrived at the property a short time later that Mr Patten was discovered having hanged himself in the garage.
He was taken to Salford Royal Hospital and treated on a Critical Dependency Unit but died as a result of a catastrophic brain injury two days later on June 7. Daniel’s dad, Neil Patten, told the inquest he and his family are still struggling to come to terms with the tragedy, as Daniel had reportedly never threatened to harm himself and usually ‘wouldn’t hurt a fly.’
Mr Patten described his son as an “amazing” father, who was always very hands on with his and Regan’s two children. But when Miss Tierney reportedly ended their relationship and asked him to move out, Daniel was ‘absolutely heartbroken,’ Mr Patten told the court.
“He rented a storage unit and put his belongings in there. He was concerned about the separation and not being able to see his children. He said he had realised the split was definite and he knew she was seeing someone else. He was destroyed. He was absolutely heartbroken,” Mr Patten said.
The inquest heard that Daniel, who had a history of depression and anxiety, was still getting access to his children and his family said he seemed to be ‘looking forward.’ He had set up a family group chat and was planning to find his own flat to move into. His sister Melissa said her brother had started to ‘perk up.’
But in the days leading up to his death, it’s thought Daniel’s positive mood may have been shattered by a number of posts on Facebook relating to Miss Tierney’s new partner. The inquest heard Mr Patten was aware of a photo on the social media site confirming Regan’s new relationship.
His friend, Marc Phillips told the court that on May 3 when he sent a message asking if Daniel was coming to the gym he received a reply saying: “No mate, head’s gone.” A few days earlier Mr Phillips had also received a message from Daniel saying his children would be ‘better off’ without him and Regan. Mr Phillips told the court he just viewed this as a ‘passing comment.’
On the evening of June 4, Daniel had arrived home at his father’s flat where he had been staying, and reportedly drunk two beers before heading to bed. “He said he was going to get an early night and go to work early in the morning as he had an appraisal with his boss,” Mr Patten said.
“He went to bed and I fell asleep on the sofa. I went to bed at 2am and assumed Daniel was in bed. At 6am the following morning my dad came round and said Daniel had been involved in an accident and we went to Salford Royal Hospital. I am still at a complete loss as to why this happened.”
Investigating Officer for GMP, Duncan Thorpe confirmed to the court that police are not looking for anyone else in relation to Miss Tierney’s death and don’t believe there to be any suspicious circumstances surrounding Mr Patten’s. Mr Thorpe said officers had found a knife inside Daniel’s track-suit pocket with Regan’s blood on it.
Toxicology results showed Mr Patten had a small level of alcohol in his blood and had most likely smoked cannabis in the day’s before his death. Home Office Pathologist, Dr Charles Wilson, concluded he had died from a hypoxic–ischaemic brain injury caused by hanging.
Recording a conclusion of suicide, Coroner Dr Alan Walsh, said he believed Mr Patten had ‘snapped’ and that his actions on the night of his death were ‘completely out of character.’
“He had a turbulent relationship but he was a devoted father and all he ever wanted was a happy family with Regan and their two children. They had their problems but they got back together many times,” Mr Walsh said. “The break-up a short time before their deaths was catastrophic because he acknowledged this was the final split. He was supported by his friends and family.
“It would appear he still had contact with his children and was looking for a flat and was working hard. He was trying to find a new life but it was likely he was dwelling on what he had seen on Facebook and what he had heard. It is clear he was aware of her new relationship.
“He gained access into the home and I am satisfied that Regan sustained injuries. Daniel then closed the garage door and made a phone call. He rang her grandfather to say ‘you need to come and collect the children I have killed Regan’ but didn’t ‘t say what he was going to do to himself. I am satisfied that he intended to take his own life.”
An inquest into the death of Miss Tierney is due to take place later this year.
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