Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Haunted by Tragedy

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Haunted by Tragedy

Article excerpt

Byline: By Barbara Argument

Richard Mace was a loving son to be proud of. A typical caring Boro lad to the core.

An ex-soldier, one-time DJ at Billingham Ice Rink and a former Boro juniors' football star whose career was wrecked by a knee injury.

His parents' living-room is filled with photos of the son who was "fun-loving and full of life".

He was loved and admired as one of the good guys by family, friends, teachers and colleagues at York City who signed him as a 14-year-old.

His funeral was packed with grief-stricken friends from Keldholme School and among the tributes was a wreath "With deepest sympathy from all at Middlesbrough Football Club".

The asylum seekers he worked to help as an immigration officer held a memorial service out of respect.

"Good night and God bless, Richard," was the eulogy read by one young girl.

So why did the 26-year-old stab his wife Clare to death last Christmas Eve and then kill himself?

What happened in those last hours to trigger the horrific events which robbed two ordinary families of a son and daughter?

That's the question which still haunts Richard's devastated mum and dad.

June and Richard Mace senior still turn over and over in their minds every single day what happened that terrible evening.

Richard and Clare, a police officer, had split only five days before when she told the immigration worker their marriage was over.

Only hours before he was due to drive from Lancashire to spend Christmas with his parents in Berwick Hills, there was an explosion of violence.

He stabbed Clare to death with one blow, cutting through bone into her heart.

Then he slashed his wrists and neck with a kitchen knife.

Behind the unimaginable horror is a human tragedy touching two families whose lives will never be the same.

Richard, 48, says they sat "like families at a wedding" on opposite sides of the room at the double inquest.

They have had no communication with Clare's family.

"I suppose they know the reason, but we don't," insists Richard.

"I don't want to get involved in any slagging off, but there must have been something terrible for this to happen."

He and 46-year-old June sit with 21-year-old son Robert in the living-room of their neat semi. All around are hung photographs of the son and brother they loved. Richard as a young footballer. A soldier. At his wedding. Relaxed and smiling. In Boro top with best Army mate and fellow fan, Paul Ford.

"Paul has become our surrogate son," smiles Richard. "For the Carling Cup he got us tickets and drove all the way here from Salisbury to pick us up.

"We stayed with him and his wife and then we all went to Cardiff.

"The very worst and the best moments of my life within weeks of each other.

"I was standing at Cardiff with tears streaming down my cheeks that my son wasn't there with me. …

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