Colonel who was Bosnia and Kosovo veteran shot himself dead after becoming overwhelmed with Army workload following defence cuts — (Daily Mail)

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Daily Mail Online

 By Tara Brady

PUBLISHED: 18:17 GMT, 19 November 2013

A senior Army officer shot himself dead after becoming overwhelmed by pressures of military life, an inquest heard today.

Lieutenant Colonel Robert Shaw, 52, was finding it increasingly difficult to manage his work as deputy commander of the Warminster Garrison in Wiltshire.

The inquest heard evidence from other Army officers who spoke of how cuts to Col Shaw’s support staff increased his own workload.

The married father-of-three was also due to retire from the Army in three years and was worried about his future career and paying his children’s school fees.

The inquest at Gloucestershire Coroner’s Court also heard that Col Shaw believed he had relationship difficulties with his elderly mother and his own children.

His wife, Angela, found him dead in his car on the morning of Sunday, June 2, this year in a secluded country lane at Quenington, near Cirencester, Gloucestershire.

He last spoke to Mrs Shaw on the telephone at around 5pm the previous evening.

He had left their home in Warminster that afternoon having told his wife he was going to an appointment at a gun shop in Cirencester to sell his weapons.

When he failed to return home Mrs Shaw thought he had gone to see his elderly mother who lived in Fairford, Gloucestershire.

On the Sunday morning Mrs Shaw drove to her mother-in-law’s home and when she saw that his car was not there went to look for him.

She found her husband slumped in the front seat of his car with a gunshot wound to his chest and a rifle by his side.

The inquest heard that Col Shaw also had a copy of the Bible on his lap and had written the word ‘sorry’ on the windscreen.

Around a dozen notes were also found addressed to his family and friends, which he had left in his car and at home.

Col Shaw had also left his office at the Army base ‘immaculate’, leaving all his paperwork in order and on a whiteboard had written an up to date ‘to do’ list, which at the bottom he had again written ‘sorry’.
His mobile phone was also recovered from his office.

In a written statement, Mrs Shaw said that from January this year he confided in her that things were getting on top of him.

‘He was not his usual self and he started to obsess about small matters, which had become very serious to him,’ she said.

‘He had started a mild course of anti-depressants and he exhibited considerable anxiety over lots of things.’