| Rose Paterson |
The Honourable Rose Paterson
|Born||Rose Emily Ridley|
13 August 1956
|Died||24 June 2020 (Age 63)|
Cause of death
|Alma mater||New Hall, Cambridge|
|Victim of||premature death|
Wife of Shropshire MP Owen Paterson who died suddenly in June 2020.
Rose Emily Paterson (née Ridley; 13 August 1956 – 24 June 2020) was the daughter of 4th Viscount Ridley, wife of Conservative Party MP Owen Paterson, a British business executive, fundraiser, and the chairman of Aintree Racecourse.
Rose Paterson contracted COVID-19 a few months before she was found dead in woods near her Shropshire home in June 2020. West Mercia Police treated her death as "unexplained", and it was not thought that any third party was involved. Her death was later ruled to be suicide by the coroner, Mr John Ellery. The inquest was told that Mrs Paterson had a previous history of anxiety and depression but in his statement to the hearing, Owen Paterson said his wife had not been suffering from depression at the time and had not been prescribed any anti-depressants.
He said that they had spent lockdown together at their home but he said he returned to London in mid June, returning to spend the weekend at home on June 19.
Rose Paterson Trust
A new charitable trust in her memory – the Rose Paterson Trust – was launched on Saturday 10 April 2021, the day of the Grand National (officially known as the Randox 2021 Grand National for sponsorship reasons). Rose Paterson had a long association with Aintree and a race at the Grand National Festival has been named after her. Speaking of the "extraordinary anguish" his family has gone through since his wife's suicide, Owen Paterson said:
"We will never know definitively why Rose did this but the impact on us is absolutely terrible.
"I was married to her for 40 years, that is a long time and we never had an inkling of this."
Mr Paterson said his wife appeared to have a happy, fulfilling life but it did not tell the whole story. He said the Rose Paterson Trust would raise funds to support suicide prevention projects.
"If we can just help stop just one family going through the extraordinary anguish that we are currently going through and will continue to for many years, then we might have done some good," he said.
The trust also plans to campaign to get changes in national policy in a bid to reduce the frequency of suicide.
Owen Paterson's resignation
On 4 November 2021, Owen Paterson resigned as an MP after 24 years, and after he was found by Parliament's independent sleaze investigator to have broken lobbying rules during his £110,000-a-year private sector work. In a statement Owen Paterson said:
"I have today, after consultation with my family, and with much sadness decided to resign as the MP for North Shropshire.
"The last two years have been an indescribable nightmare for my family and me. My integrity, which I hold very dear, has been repeatedly and publicly questioned.
"I maintain that I am totally innocent of what I have been accused of."
Paterson was last month found by a Commons watchdog to have "repeatedly used his privileged position" to benefit Randox, a clinical diagnostics company, and Lynn's Country Foods, a meat processor and distributor.
He has continually declared himself "not guilty" and strongly criticised the investigation into his private sector work, which he said saw him raise serious issues about food contamination during his contact with officials.
Paterson has also said the investigation into him "undoubtedly played a major role" in his wife, Rose Paterson, taking her own life in June last year.
In his resignation statement, he maintained that he "acted at all times in the interests of public health and safety" and claimed the current standards system in Parliament would leave him "unable to clear my name".
"Far, far worse than having my honesty questioned was, of course, the suicide of my beloved and wonderful wife, Rose," he added.
"She was everything to my children and me. We miss her everyday and the world will always be grey, sad and ultimately meaningless without her. The last few days have been intolerable for us.
"Worst of all was seeing people, including MPs, publicly mock and deride Rose's death and belittle our pain. My children have therefore asked me to leave politics altogether, for my sake as well as theirs.
"I agree with them. I do not want my wife's memory and reputation to become a political football. Above all, I always put my family first."
- "Rose Paterson: Aintree Racecourse chairman dies aged 63"
- "Wife of MP Owen Paterson killed herself in woodland at their home, inquest hears"
- "Rose Paterson: Husband speaks of 'anguish' as trust launched"
- "Owen Paterson resigns: Conservative ex-minister quits as MP after row over House of Commons suspension"