Fashion consultant hanged herself ‘after tycoon husband’s campaign of coercive control’


A fashion consultant, whose property tycoon husband was accused of spying on her with CCTV cameras during their £6.9 million divorce battle, was found hanged at her home three days before Christmas, an inquest heard.

Tracey Ratcliffe, 53, was found dead at her £450,000 semi-detached house in Sale, Greater Manchester, on December 22 last year, Manchester South coroner’s court heard.

Assistant coroner Andrew Bridgman told the inquest there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding her death.

Friends told the Mail Online of their devastation. Describing her as “an absolute diamond of a friend”, they recalled her as “a wonderful person” who was “always dressed to the nines”.

Nicholas Ratcliffe, 64, her former husband, subjected his wife to a “deplorable level of coercive control”, a court heard in 2021 in a dispute over their £6.9 million fortune.

The couple had married in 1994 and split in 2016.

In 2020, Mrs Ratcliffe, a mother-of-two, was awarded £3.45 million in a divorce payout, when a family judge said the break-up was “among the most acrimonious” he had ever dealt with.

Nicholas Ratcliffe subjected his wife to a "deplorable level of coercive control", a court heard in 2021

Nicholas Ratcliffe subjected his wife to a “deplorable level of coercive control”, a court heard in 2021 – CHAMPION NEWS

The hearing heard how Mr Ratcliffe was said to have forced his wife from their home by using CCTV to monitor her.

He was also said to have locked some of the internal doors at their £1.3 million Cheshire property to restrict her movements, and left sticky notes around the kitchen that read “clean me”.

Mr Ratcliffe appealed the payout, in a move his former wife’s lawyers described as another example of his “controlling” behaviour.

Mr Ratcliffe had appealed against the ruling on the grounds that his needs were not properly taken into account, and that his former wife was left with all of the family’s cash funds and assets.

Court of Appeal judges backed Mr Ratcliffe’s appeal, saying the previous assessment of the size of the family fortune “overstated the true position”.

Anne Hussey QC, Mrs Ratcliffe’s barrister, said at the time: “Despite being aware of her fragile mental health, the husband showed a deplorable level of control and embarked on a campaign designed to drive the wife from the family home.”

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