Woman’s pain after dad took own life a month after killing mum for having affair

A woman whose father killed her mother after discovering her affair with a 15-year-old boy has broken her silence on her traumatic childhood.

Laura Flynn suffers 'flashbacks' about the horrific events of 1962 that saw her orphaned but she is trying to piece together her childhood to write a book and give talks on the subject.

On March 22 1962, when Laura was nine, her father, Thomas Walker Flynn, 33, suffocated his wife of 10 years, Jean Mary Flynn, 28, at the family home in Spring Grove Street, Huddersfield, Examiner Live reports.

A subsequent murder trial was told that the mother-of-four had been having an 'affair' with a 15-year-old boy and was pregnant at the time of her death.

Her husband, a window cleaner, was aware of his wife's infidelity and was found guilty of her manslaughter but not guilty of her murder. As he was being led away from the court to start his sentence, he said: "I would have liked to have died."

Just a few weeks later, in May 1962, he was found hanged at Armley prison in Leeds.

Laura, now 67, has been researching what happened and wants people to know the deep trauma she has lived with ever since.

She said: "I am trying to piece together all the nasty things that happened to me as a child.

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"It is a horrendous story and I am now wondering how I managed to navigate through life. I wake up in the morning and sometimes I don't want to."

She has been spending time in Huddersfield trying to find out more about the tragic events and their aftermath.

She recalls that, on the day her mum was killed, she and two of her brothers were taken out of school and told that both her parents had been killed in a car crash.

"I was told this by a grey-haired woman from social services. It was a pack of lies. It wasn't until four years later that a school friend told me the truth. Her dad had read it in the paper. I begged her to tell me and that's how I found out the truth."

Laura, who now lives in London, wasn't given the opportunity to see her dad while he was in custody and she still feels the anger and bitterness.

"If my dad had seen me he might not have hanged himself."

She remembers her dad's distress in the months before he suffocated his wife. She had caught snatches of conversation between her parents about the relationship with the 15-year-old, which may have been going on since the previous year.

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"Shortly before it happened I remember one night, around midnight, dad woke me up and brought me downstairs.

"He put £100 on the mantlepiece and dictated a suicide note to me. He was illiterate. The next thing – this is so distressing and the memory haunts me – he was weeping and wailing. Then he drank some disinfectant in front of me and staggered out of the door."

Laura believes he was sent for treatment at Storthes Hall psychiatric hospital while she and her brothers spent a short period of time in care.

"What is upsetting is they (the local authorities) must have known that dad was a dangerous man. He had been in prison before. I think he had hit someone in a pub with a glass. Why did social services send the four of us back following dad's attempted suicide? The inevitable happened and he killed her."

Laura, who now lives alone in London, is hopeful that readers may be able to provide more information about her family and her upbringing in Huddersfield. They had lived at Bolster Moor before moving to Spring Grove Street.

She has very little contact with her brothers and has been unable to make lasting friendships which she puts down to her traumatic childhood experiences.

"As I am now retired I decided to find out what really happened.

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"A few months ago I realised that I won't be missed and there will be no one at my funeral.

"I don't have friends – that is the way I have developed from the trauma.

"If I can get my story out about how I coped with such trauma maybe I might feel loved and just maybe I might be missed. I actually made it to 67 years, albeit mentally impaired through the trauma.

"I have never spoken in public about it. I would say the anger I feel against social services and others has festered away till now."

After the tragic events of 1962, Laura was adopted by Ronnie and Pat Sanders but it did not lead to happier times.

Laura says she ended up "on the streets" aged 17 without any support and later joined the Army and became a nurse. She later qualified as a personal trainer and fitness instructor.

Currently, she is working on a book about her life story and has plans to give talks to local groups.

"I want to talk about it now because I am in the latter part of my life and I feel am going to die all alone as a result of my past without anyone knowing how horrendous it was.

"I want people to know my story and to be remembered as a survivor."

She adds: "Mentally I have never moved on from when it happened.

"My working life was frantic to hide the pain but it's now caught up with me at retirement.

"Although I made a life for myself it's not been a happy life because I have been constantly dogged with memories of the past; it's like sinking in thick mud.

"I want to give talks and write a book but I can't do these things until I find out the whole truth."

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