A wealthy opera lover stabbed and bludgeoned his wife to death after learning he had not taken her virginity.

Police found the body of Susan Goswell slumped on the lounge floor of their gated bungalow with multiple stab wounds, as opera blared out from a stereo.

They said retired property developer Roger Goswell had not been able to cope with the revelation that his wife of 46 years had not been a virgin when they first met.

Officers described the disclosure as the “tipping point” for the 66-year-old, who had a history of mental illness.

Mr Goswell murdered his wife and then took his own life by driving his Smart car into a tree near his home in Silverwood, West Chiltington on December 23.

When police entered their house they found her body, a kitchen knife and a rubber mallet in the kitchen sink.

A note stuck on the door of the couple’s home read “Police only enter”.

At the inquest in Chichester into the couple’s deaths, witnesses including the Goswells’three children shed light on their tempestuous marriage.

They revealed that a number of warnings had been made about the potential of Mr Goswell to harm his wife in the run-up to the tragedy.

The Goswells’ eldest daughter, Sarah Bevan, told how she urged health officials not to discharge her father from hospital in the weeks before the deaths because of concerns about his mental wellbeing.

In an email, she wrote that she did not want to be “another front page story” involving a patient who should not have been released and said she had “begged” for her father’s case to be taken seriously.

Ms Bevan said: “I feel this is a tragedy which will be lifelong for us and our children. Perhaps if people had taken things more seriously then maybe they would still be here today.”

Mr Goswell had been admitted to St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester last November after he unsuccessfully attempted to commit suicide by attaching a pipe from his exhaust to his car in his garage.

After the suicide bid, Ms Bevan said he remarked: “There are three people in this marriage.”

He was transferred to the Priory Clinic in Hove but was discharged on December 17.

Three days later, Mrs Goswell called police to report he had threatened to kill her. Just three days after that, her blood-soaked body was found at their home.

Mr Goswell’s sister, Marie King, said: “All I can say is that I’m surprised that my brother was not sectioned, having made a threat to his kill his wife.”

Detective Chief Inspector Adam Hibbert, of Sussex Police’s major crime branch, said Mrs Goswell’s disclosure to Mr Goswell that she had had a relationship with a man called Brian Daly before she had met her husband had a profound impact on him.

Describing her father as “controlling and dominant”, Rebecca Merrick, the younger of the couple’s two daughters, said her mother feared for her life after repeated, graphic death threats from Mr Goswell.

She recalled one occasion just two days before the tragedy when her father had sat ranting to her about killing his wife and Mr Daly.

Sobbing in the witness box, Mrs Merrick, from Billingshurst, described how her mother, who was sitting next to him at the time, had mouthed the words “Help me” when he wasn’t looking.

She said: “She was too scared to leave as he would kill her.”

The couple’s cleaner, Gloria Cobbold, said Mrs Goswell, who she had known for 22 years, was so sure her husband would attack her that she left knives and scissors strategically placed around the house to defend herself.

Mrs Cobbold said Mr Goswell’s obsession with luxury cars had also added to the strains on the couple’s marriage as they could not afford them.

The inquest is due to resume on Friday.