Mother’s death was catalyst for mental problems

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A psychologist told how Andrew Cairns pinpointed his mother’s death as the catalyst for his mental problems more than a year before the triple stabbings at Holbrook.

Dr Andrew Raynor said he saw Mr Cairns on a weekly basis for a total of about 22 times, starting in June, 2009.

During the sessions with Mr Cairns they explored what was behind his mental problems with help from Mr Cairns’ former partner, Rachael Slack, who also attended the appointments.

Other underlying problems which sparked Mr Cairns’ depression were the end of his golfing career, his relationship with his ex-wife and trying to maintain his property in Spain, Dr Raynor told an inquest at Derby and South Derbyshire Coroner’s Court.

Mr Cairns, 44, was found dead along with Rachael, 38, and their 23-moth-old son, Auden in Well Yard, Holbrook, in June 2010 at the cottage Ms Slack lived at with their son after the couple had separated. They had been stabbed a total of 66 times. At the time Ms Slack had a new boyfriend and they were expecting a child together.

Mr Raynor told the jury at the inquest in Derby: “He was very much focused on a period in his adult life beginning with the loss of his mother, which he pinpointed as the start of his difficulties with depression.”

During the meetings, Miss Slack said she had noticed Mr Cairns did not process events and paid the price mentally at a later point.

Dr Raynor continued: “She was curious as to why he hadn’t played golf since and didn’t talk about it or miss it.”

He added: “She contributed quite a bit. She was very confident at sharing her observations.”

During a home visit Dr Raynor noticed Mr Cairns’ house in Marehay was immaculately tidy and that he had a “tendency for perfection”. However, he attributed the behaviour to “obsessiveness rather than OCD”.

He said: “He wasn’t distressed by his need for perfection, it was just a preference.”

He had agreed to reduce Mr Cairns’ anti-depressants prescription after Mr Cairns said they were exacerbating the problem. Dr Raynor said he thought Mr Cairns saw the drugs as representing weakness.

The sessions began in June, 2009, when Dr Raynor was appointed as care co-ordinator for Mr Cairns.

On July 7, Mr Cairns said that his property in Spain was close to being re-possessed and he couldn’t see a future without it.

Three weeks later Mr Cairns told Dr Raynor he was having “bizarre experiences” and bodily sensations in public places, which Dr Raynor said were panic attacks.

Dr Raynor said he also thought his patient suffered from agoraphobia, which prevented Mr Cairns from seeing his son.

“It was very difficult for him to travel to see Auden and he had been relying on Rachael,” he said.

The hearing continues.