Inquest: Farmer shot himself in the head

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A depressed farmer shot himself in the head, an inquest heard.

Geoffrey White, of Manor Farm, Bishopstone, was found in the summer house in the garden of his ex-wife’s property.

The 76-year-old was still conscious but died the next day at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel.

An inquest into his death was held at Eastbourne Magistrates Court last Thursday which heard how on the morning of the incident on May 30 this year he had written a note saying ‘I can’t go on’.

Mr White was found by his ex-wife at her property in Piddinghoe and an estate agent who was valuing the home.

The last time she had spoken to him was the previous evening.

On the day of the shooting she nor the estate agent heard any gun shot wounds.

Firearms officers were called to the scene shortly before 11.30am and when emergency services arrived a rifle was found lying on Mr White’s lap which was removed.

The pensioner was still breathing at one point and was flown to hospital in London but the inquest heard Mr White died the next day.

The inquest heard Mr White, who had parked his vehicle a short distance from his ex-wife’s property, was licensed to have the gun he used to shoot himself with.

Detective Constable David Tritton visited Mr White’s home in Bishopstone after the shooting and said there were rounds found which would have fitted the rifle Mr White used to kill himself.

A diary in the study had several entries which showed Mr White, who had separated from his second wife three years previously, had been feeling low in the week leading up to the incident and Coroner Alan Craze said the depression had been going back months.

One of the notes read, ‘I can’t go on’, which was written on the morning of the incident.

The inquest heard that there was no evidence to suggest anyone else was involved in Mr White’s death.

A post mortem showed he died due to a head injury.

No drugs were detected.

Coroner Alan Craze recorded a verdict of suicide whilst the balance of the mind was disturbed stating Mr White was, ‘clearly suffering from worsening depression’.

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