To view original article click here
By Victoria Ward
4:20 PM GMT 21 Mar 2016
Hugh Clavell Mansel, who was depressed about his impending retirement, made telephone confession before drinking a bottle of wine and shooting himself in woodland
Police found the father-of-two’s body in woods near the family’s six-bedroom home near Wareham, Dorset
Hugh Clavell Mansel, 67, was said to have grown increasingly anxious and depressed about his impending retirement as partner at a London investment banking firm.
At 7am on the morning of his death, he called his wife of 31 years, Diana, who was away visiting a relative, and told her of his infidelity.
Mrs Mansel, 65, troubled by the “strange” telephone call and aware of her husband’s fragile mental state, tried to reassure him that it would be alright.
She told the inquest: “He said ‘I have done something so dreadful to you – I have had an affair’.
“I said ‘we are all human, it just happens that I haven’t had one’, he just seemed so anxious.
“I said ‘it’s fine, I don’t mind’ but he wasn’t listening.
“He didn’t say he was going to do anything, but I knew he wasn’t in good shape.”
Mrs Mansel immediately contacted a friend, Richard Henry, and asked him to check on her husband.
But after hanging up, Mr Mansel grabbed a shotgun from his collection, drove his Land Rover Discovery to the woodland, where he drank a bottle of red wine from a plastic cup for “Dutch courage” before killing himself.
By the time Mr Henry arrived at the property, he found only several suicide notes Mr Mansel had left.
Police later found the father-of-two’s body in woods near the family’s six-bedroom home near Wareham, Dorset.
Mr Mansel, whose late father, Major Rhys Clavell Mansel was decorated for gallantry in the First World War, worked for London-based investment bankers Smith & Williamson.
His grandfather, Colonel John Delalynde Mansel, was also commended for his part in the Boer war and once brought a live tiger back from India to the ancestral home of Smedmore near Wareham.
Mr Mansel lived eight miles from the Grade II-listed stately home, which is owned by his relative, the acclaimed historian Dr Philip Mansel.
The Bournemouth inquest heard that Mr Mansel had been suffering anxiety about his retirement, which was six months away at the time of his suicide on November 14 last year, had lost weight and appeared troubled.
Mrs Mansel said: “Over the years he did confide in me about his enormous anxiety, but there was only so much I saw.
“I thought he was losing weight, but I thought it was because he wasn’t looking forward to retirement. I didn’t know how extreme he was.”
He had had told his company about his depression and they said they would support him as he sought treatment.
In the days before his death he had been prescribed anti-depressants and sleeping pills, but there was no indication he was planning to take his own life.
Mr Sheriff Payne, the Dorset coroner, said: “At the age of 67 thoughts of retirement had come to the forefront.
“Mr Mansel did not like the idea of advanced age and this increasingly played upon his mind.
“His wife had some very strange communications with him. He phoned her in the morning and confessed to an affair and she forgave him for this, but she was obviously concerned about his condition.
“So concerned she started heading back to Wareham and also contacted friends to go back to Wareham.
“The notes he left gave out instructions to sort out his affairs and indicated he would take his own life.”
Mr Payne recorded a suicide verdict.