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Inquest: Wycombe pensioner shot himself with own gun
A SHOOTING enthusiast suffering with illness took his own life in the garden of his Wycombe home with his own shotgun, an inquest heard.
Thermal imaging equipment on the camera of a police helicopter located the body of William Leatherby – which was discovered slumped up against a shed in his London Road garden on November 26.
A post mortem revealed the 85-year-old died from a serious head injury consistent with a shotgun wound. One of Mr Leatherby’s four shotguns was found on the ground by his body.
The inquest held at Beaconsfield Coroner’s Court heard how Mr Leatherby told his wife at about 1.30pm on November 26 that he was going to have a nap while she went out to have her haircut.
On her return at 3.45pm, Mr Leatherby was no-where to be found and a missing person’s search was launched after Mrs Leatherby noticed the backdoor was unlocked and the gun cabinet was missing a firearm.
The body of Mr Leatherby - a registered gun keeper and a frequent shooter at a gun club in West Wycombe - was found shortly afterwards.
PC Carl Wilson said a police investigation revealed no suspicious circumstances surrounding Mr Leatherby’s death.
Mr Leatherby’s recent medical history included heart and thyroid issues, and he struggled to get around due to back problems.
Six weeks before his death he was also diagnosed with jaundice and Cholangiocarcinoma, a form of cancer, thought to be terminal.
Recording a verdict of suicide, the Buckinghamshire Coroner Richard Hulett said: “With his mobility and illness problems, Mr Leatherby’s quality of life had declined.
“His long-term passion was shooting and he had legal access to shotguns in his house.
“It very much looks like while his wife was out he has reached a decision to conclude his life...at the bottom of his own garden by the means of his own shotgun.”