Rose Paterson was told of article linking her to corruption allegations hours ...

Rose Paterson was told of article linking her to corruption allegations hours ...
Rose Paterson was told of article linking her to corruption allegations hours ...

It was most likely the last email Rose Paterson sent before taking her own life.

And it laid bare the utter despair and desolation the wife of Owen Paterson felt in those dark hours before she committed suicide.

In a reply to an email from her friend, the Tory peer Anne Jenkin, Mrs Paterson is understood have written: 'Sometimes I just feel like I should go into the garden and never come back.'

She is also understood to have spoken of how all the 'innuendo' she was facing was depressing her.

Just a few hours later, in the early hours of June 24 last year, her body was found in woodland near their family home in Ellesmere, near Wrexham.

The fateful email exchange emerged after former Cabinet Minister Mr Paterson was forced to resign his Commons seat last week.

He stepped down after a botched attempt by Boris Johnson to suspend a damning standards verdict on the MP for flouting paid advocacy rules on behalf of two companies, Randox and Lynn's Country Foods.

Pictured: Rose Patterson and Owen Paterson, Tory MP. who recently resigned. Mrs Paterson's body was found hours after she received an email linking her to corruption allegations last year

Pictured: Rose Patterson and Owen Paterson, Tory MP. who recently resigned. Mrs Paterson's body was found hours after she received an email linking her to corruption allegations last year

The Prime Minister now faces a backlash from Tory MPs over his 'calamitous' lack of judgment in trying to undermine the Commons Standards Committee's ruling.

Mr Paterson, who protested his innocence even as he quit what he called the 'cruel world of politics', has already blamed the manner of that standards inquiry for contributing to the suicide of his wife.

The shame and pressure of being caught up in a public scandal was thought to have been unbearable for Mrs Paterson, 63, the daughter of the fourth Viscount Ridley and a leading figure at the Jockey Club.

Close friends say Mr Paterson believes it was the email received from Lady Jenkin at around midnight that proved the final straw.

'Owen thought it pushed Rose over the edge,' one friend said.

In the email, Lady Jenkin – wife of Tory MP and Standards Committee member Sir Bernard Jenkin – is understood to have alerted her friend to an obscure blog linking Mrs Paterson to Randox, the company at the heart of her husband's controversial outside interests.

The September inquest into Mrs Paterson's death, which recorded a verdict of suicide, heard that she had left no final note for her loved ones but she had made internet searches on suicide methods three times before the tragedy.

Pictured: MP Bernard Jenkin and his wife Anne, who was a close friend of Mrs Paterson

Pictured: MP Bernard Jenkin and his wife Anne, who was a close friend of Mrs Paterson

The Mail on Sunday understands that the investigation following her death also uncovered the email exchange with Lady Jenkin.

Mr Paterson is then said to have asked the Tory peer whether, when she sent her email, she knew he was under investigation by the Commons Standards Commissioner for breaking rules on paid advocacy.

Lady Jenkin is said to have insisted that though her husband was a member of the Standards Committee, she had been unaware of the inquiry. Friends said that in messaging her friend, Lady Jenkin had just been alerting her to a 'conspiracy theory' that drew a link between her and Randox, sponsor of the Grand National at Aintree racecourse where Mrs Paterson was chairman. One ally of Lady Jenkin said: 'Yes, Bernard is on the Standards Committee but the inquiry was being carried out by the Standards Commissioner Kathryn Stone. Anne herself genuinely knew nothing about it.

'Very few people did at that stage, as under the parliamentary rules then operating, not even Owen Paterson himself was allowed to say publicly that he was under investigation.'

A senior Tory MP said: 'The enforced secrecy around the inquiry – with Owen unable to defend himself – was, of course, one of the things that put such pressure on the Paterson family.'

Owen Paterson (pictured) recently resigned after breaching lobbying rules in his party. Mr Paterson, who protested his innocence even as he quit what he called the 'cruel world of politics', has already blamed the manner of that standards inquiry for contributing to the suicide of his wife

Owen Paterson (pictured) recently resigned after breaching lobbying rules in his party. Mr Paterson, who protested his innocence even as he quit what he called the 'cruel world of politics', has already blamed the manner of that standards inquiry for contributing to the suicide of his wife

However, others have pointed out the terrible – if entirely unintended – effect that Lady Jenkin's email might have had on Mrs Paterson.

One friend said: 'Sadly, it would have just worried Rose even more how she personally could be drawn into the wider scandal.'

The revelation of the email exchange has also revived a bitter internal Tory row over Sir Bernard's decision not to take part in the crucial deliberations of the Standards Committee which resulted in the tough 30-day suspension that was handed down to Mr Paterson.

Critics claim that his withdrawal allowed more junior Tory members of the committee to be 'bullied' into handing down such a severe sentence.

The committee minutes record that after Sir Bernard declared that he was a 'close personal friend' of Mr Paterson and his wife 'was a close personal friend of Mr Paterson's late wife', committee colleagues agreed that he should step aside.

But two senior Tory MPs suggested that 'embarrassment' over his wife's email was the real reason Sir Bernard had felt obliged to remove himself from the proceedings.

Last night, both Lady Jenkin and Sir Bernard declined to comment.Mr Paterson also declined to comment. 

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle to set up standards rules review to heal Westminster's bitter sleaze row 

By Brendan Carlin and Anna Mikhailova for the Mail on Sunday 

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle is tomorrow set to launch a bid to heal Westminster's bitter sleaze row.

He is considering proposing a review of the Commons' standards procedures in the wake of the Owen Paterson scandal.

Sources said the review was likely to be set up in consultation with standards committee chairman, the Labour MP Chris Bryant.

But Commons insiders said the Speaker would only make up his mind after a scheduled three-hour debate on the sleaze row.

Last night there were predictions that a review would lead to MPs found guilty of financial misdemeanours being able to appeal to a retired judge – one of the Tories' key demands in last week's stormy exchanges in the House. There are also suggestions that the review could include looking at how MPs

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