Electronic musician Mira Calix was found hanged by her partner having blown him three kisses as he lay in bed the night before, an inquest heard.
Her artist boyfriend Andy Holden let out a loud scream the following morning when he found the 52-year-old dead at their semi-detached home in Bedford.
The hearing at Ampthill was told that Mira, who was born in South Africa as Chantal Francesca Passamonte, was found at the address in Coventry Road at six minutes past nine in the morning on 25th March last year. Her death was confirmed at 9.29.
A post mortem examination found she had died due to asphyxia from hanging.
The Senior Bedfordshire Coroner Emma Whitting adjourned the inquest for a date to be fixed after a dispute over the authorship of letters that had been left at the scene.
Electronic musician Mira Calix (pictured) was found hanged by her partner the morning after blowing him three kisses as he lay in bed, an inquest has heard
At the time of her death the award-winning artist and composer was described by her label Warp Records as someone who ‘pushed the boundaries between electronic music, classical music and art in a truly unique way’.
She created a sound sculpture ‘Nothing Is Set in Stone’ for the Cultural Olympiad that ran alongside 2012 London Olympics.
She also created the music for an awe-inspiring tribute at the Tower of London with 10,000 flame-lit torches to mark the First World War Armistice centenary in 2018.
The BBC 6 Music DJ Mary Anne Hobbs called her: ‘such an ingenious, pioneering artist*. always questioning, always pushing.’
Tribute shows were made in her name on both 6 Music and Radio 3.
PC Alexandra Harpin said Andy Holden told her Chantal Passamonte had been depressed had turned off her phone and was not engaging with friends. She said letters from her were located around the house.
Riccarde Passamonte, Chantel’s mother, said it was her view that her daughter had not written the notes.
‘I am very convinced about it,’ she said.
Mira (pictured), who was born in South Africa as Chantal Francesca Passamonte, was found dead in her home at six minutes past nine in the morning on 25th March last year
She said after moving into Coventry Road with Mr Holden she changed and did not respond to family messages on WhatsApp.
Mr Badenoch asked her: ‘Did you form any views she was being controlled ?’
She replied: ‘I had a strong suspicion. I was concerned. The house was not to her standard. She was quiet. She disliked the place. The image in my head is a little sparrow in a cage.’
The day after the death she went to Bedford with her daughter Genevieve to discuss matters with Mr Holden and his father.
She alleged he started talking about opening a new account to collect her royalties. ‘He had her bank card and PIN number and my alarm bells went up.
‘I told my daughter to go to the bank to report that and the account was frozen.’
She said that there was talk about cremation, but she replied: ‘It is against my culture. She was brought up in the Jewish way of life. The body must return to the earth.’
Ms Passamonte said she was suspicious because the writing on the notes was different from that on her driving licence. She also said she did not accept that an audio message that was left was of her daughter.
Questioned by Mr Holden’s barrister Ruth Broadbent she agreed she had gone to work after being told of Chantel’s death. ‘It was the end of term at university. I had commitments,’ she said.
She said she had been ‘shattered’ by Chantel’s death. She said if she thought she was going to take her life she would: ‘be there like a shot.’
Genevieve Passamonte, her younger sister said her mood change after she moved to Bedford.
‘She was missing Suffolk. She disappeared for 7 months. I said we were going to the police. Eventually we were communicating by Skype,’ she said.
The artist created the music for an awe-inspiring tribute at the Tower of London with 10,000 flame-lit torches to mark the First World War Armistice centenary in 2018 (pictured)
When she and her mother met Mr Holden and his father the day after Chantel died she said there was a discussion about money: ‘After 5 to 10 minutes Andy starts reading off mobile phone and says he and his dad were setting up a bank account. For me it is really alarming.
‘I just found it really odd. We just froze the accounts.’
She said she believed the majority of the notes left were not in her sister’s handwriting.
Andy Holden said he had gone to bed and Chantel had gone to the room three times to blow him a kiss before she left the house.
He said he thought she was going to her music room to prepare for a show in The Hague.
He said she had not talked of suicide but had talked of her ‘black dog’ depression.
‘I did not see it – we were working on a mural together.’
He said they had not argued and said that a claim that an exhibition of his had been cancelled was wrong: ‘It was at the Whitworth and I had just sold 11 works to the Tate.’
He said Chantel was a ‘force of nature’ and that her death was ‘fiendishly hard to comprehend’.
Mr Holden said they had moved in together on the first day of the lockdown in March 2020.
He said she had come off social media because she had spent hours on it arguing about Brexit.
‘She was struggling to see the positive in anything,’ he said.
When asked about a money discussion he said he was just going through a list of instructions his partner had left.
He said the notes left were all in her handwriting. He said it was her voice on the audio message.
Questioned by Mr Badenoch KC, he said: ‘I really loved her and I think she loved me.’
He denied that he was concerned with her finances and royalties. He said: ‘I don’t know where this is coming from’
Mr Badenoch said: ‘You were the dominant partner in relationship’, to which he replied: ‘Do you really expect me to answer that – the woman was a force of nature. No.’
Asked to compare the signatures on a driving licence and a letter found at the scene, he replied: ‘They were saying different things and had a different purpose.’
The inquest is proceeding.
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