Man falls to death in Maida Vale after killing mother of his child

44-year-old stabbed his on-off girlfriend to death before fleeing the scene and tumbling from the seventh floor of a Randolph Gardens block of flats

A MAN fell to his death from the seventh floor of a Maida Vale block of flats less than an hour after murdering the mother of his daughter, a court heard today.

Keith Van Cooten, 44, stabbed Amanda Farquharson, 34, fatally in the heart after she agreed to meet him in her car on a residential road in Harlesden on October 15 last year, Westminster’s Coroner’s Court heard.

Mr Van Cooten, who lived in Lewisham, then fled the scene and travelled on the underground to Randolph Gardens where he ascended Torridon House before falling from the seventh floor.

The court heard the pair had endured a ‘turbulent’ 12-year relationship, maintaining contact after Mr Van Cooten moved out of Ms Farquharson’s Wembley home in 2000 for the sake of their daughter.

Ms Farquharson “didn’t encourage her ex-partner to visit her at home” instead preferring to meet in her car.

On the night of October 15, the pair met just after 6pm in what was one of their usual spots on Minet Avenue, Harlesden.

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Residents reported hearing screams coming from the car before seeing Mr Van Cooten stab Ms Farquharson and run off.

She was pronounced dead at the scene having suffered two stabs wounds to the chest, including one into her heart.

Mr Van Cooten, an unemployed gas engineer, topped up his Oyster Card and travelled by tube to Maida Vale where he was seen entering Torridon House alone at about 7pm.

Det Insp Andrew Chalmers read from a statement taken from a witness who saw him on the seventh floor balcony “on all fours in a praying position with his hands flat on the floor”.

“He pleaded ‘please do not forget me, do not forget my name’,” said the witness.

Deputy coroner Dr Shirley Radcliffe said: “Evidence from witnesses described him as disturbed and in a state of hyperactivity.”

Mr Van Cooten then plummeted down to the ground where he died instantly from severe head injuries.

The court heard Ms Farquharson had reported a number of incidents to the police over the course of her on-off relationship with Mr Van Cooten, including assault, harassment and domestic incidents.

Det Insp Chalmers described how Mr Van Cooten had become increasingly disturbed leading up to the stabbing.

“He had talked about a fear of her leaving him,” he said. “He believed she was seeing another man.”

Det Insp Chalmers also told the court Mr Van Cooten had discussed “suicidal intimations” as part of his “increasingly erratic” behaviour that even saw him have conversations with witch-doctors about his relationship with Ms Farquharson.

Deputy coroner Dr Shirley Radcliffe confirmed that Ms Farquharson had spoken to her mother on the morning of her death to tell her she was bringing her daughters to stay because she “had some concerns about her ex-partner”.

Ms Farquharson, a mother of two young daughters, had recently started a beauty therapy course at the College of North-West London.

In a statement read out in court Ms Farquharson’s family paid tribute to “a loving, kind and sharing individual whose life was cut short at a time when she had much to give. She reached a point in her life where she had much to look forward to”.

Dr Radcliffe said she retained an open verdict on Mr Van Cooten’s death as she was unable to be certain it was suicide. She ruled Ms Farquharson had been unlawfully killed.