Partner of Sussie Ahlburg committed suicide after she drowned at Hampstead Heath pond

Matthew Fretton appeared on the cover of Smash Hits magazine in 1983

Matthew Fretton appeared on the cover of Smash Hits magazine in 1983 - Credit: none

A former pop star committed suicide after his photographer partner tragically drowned on Hampstead Heath, an inquest has heard.

Sussie Ahlburg

Sussie Ahlburg - Credit: Archant

Matthew Fretton, 49, took his own life at home in Suffolk on October 29 last year, less than three months after his partner Sussie Ahlburg drowned while swimming in the Kenwood Ladies’ Bathing Pond on August 4.

Suffolk coroner Peter Dean said Mr Fretton “had become very withdrawn after this” at an inquest at Lowestoft Magistrates’ Court last week.

“It is clear that the loss of his partner had been a significant loss for Mr Fretton,” he added.

The coroner recorded a verdict of suicide, with the cause of death given as asphyxia.


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Mr Fretton performed on Top of the Pops and featured on the cover of Smash Hits magazine in the 1980s, when his single It’s So High reached number 50 in the charts.

He also supported bands such as Depeche Mode and Eurythmics, before becoming an agent for classical musicians.

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He had returned to songwriting and started work on a new album a few months before his death.

Ms Ahlburg, 51, was a successful photographer whose portraits of classical musicians had featured in publications such as Vogue, the Wall Street Journal and the Ham&High.

She had a heart condition and had been warned not to swim in “open water” by a cardiologist.

She disappeared under the water on August 4, unnoticed by two lifeguards, and her body was recovered the following day.

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