Man who murdered his wife before committing suicide because of Japanese knotweed ‘could not have been stopped’

A man who murdered his wife and then killed himself because he was so worried about JAPANESE KNOTWEED could not have been stopped – according to a council report.


Kenneth and Jane

An investigation was launched after Kenneth and Jane McRae, 52 and 55, from Rowley Regis, West Midlands, were found dead in July 2013 after he murdered his wife with a perfume bottle and killed himself days later.

Now, Sandwell Council has found in a report that no lessons could be learned from the incident and that there was no evidence of previous violence between the couple.

Kenneth, a lab technician, was found on the first floor with his wrists and throat slit while Jane was found in bed on the second floor with multiple head injuries.

An inquest ruled last year that Kenneth killed his wife by hitting her on the head with a perfume bottle, leaving her body on the bed for days before he finally killed himself.

The court heard that in a suicide note found by his body he said that he feared that damage the plant could do to his mortgage-free home meant he had no choice but to kill himself and his wife – because he did not want to leave her a widow without an income.

But his bizarre obsession was unfounded – because although a patch of the plant had been found nearby, it had not actually been discovered in his garden.

The home of Kenneth and Jane McRae

The home of Kenneth and Jane McRae

Dr MacRae was described as being “paranoid” about the plant which is so destructive it can cost upwards of £20,000 to treat.

The plant, which was introduced to Britain in Victorian times, can grow as much as nine feet in just ten weeks and can cause untold damage to the foundations of buildings.

He became convinced that the plant was spreading from the golf course behind his home in Rowley Regis, West Midlands and claimed to be locked in legal battles with the owners of the land.

But West Midlands Coroner Robin Balmain was told there was no evidence of knotweed in his plot and there had been no legal battle with the golf club.

In his suicide note, Dr McRae wrote: “I believe I was not an evil man, until the balance of my mind was disturbed by the fact there is a patch of Japanese Knotweed which has been growing over our boundary fence on the Rowley Regis Golf Course.”

He added: “Jane and I were a very private couple, we chose to have no real friends, just enjoying each other.

The home of Kenneth and Jane McRae

The home of Kenneth and Jane McRae

“But the despair has got so bad that today I have killed her, as I did not want her to be alone without an income when I killed myself.

The review into the deaths, released this week, said: “The review found nothing to indicate that domestic abuse of any kind had taken place in the couple’s relationship previously or that either of them had felt a need to seek help from relatives, friends or workplace colleagues.

“Kenneth McRae had no previous history of violent or aggressive behaviour and no reports of distress or the need for urgent help had been made to local agencies or health services.

“His concern over Japanese knotweed did not explain his extreme action and no reason was found to blame any party or agency contacted about it.”

A Home Office panel judged Sandwell Council’s review as adequate.