Friends found farmer dead by his shotgun — (The Huddersfield Examiner)

SSRI Ed note: Farmer goes to GP, is diagnosed with depression, prescribed antidepressants, kills himself with shotgun several weeks later.

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The Huddersfield Examiner

Mar 13 2008

by Emma Davison, Huddersfield Daily Examiner

A MELTHAM farmer shot himself after battling for months against depression, an inquest heard.

Stephen Richardson, who owned Laneside Farm on Helme Lane, was found dead near to land he owned. He had shot himself with a double-barrelled shotgun which was found nearby.

At yesterday’s inquest in Huddersfield, Mr Richardson’s wife Vivien told how he had spent the months before his death battling against his illness. She said he had been very ill but had been getting help.

Off-duty police officers Andrew Smith and Lynn Schofield, both friends of Mr Richardson, found the 52-year-old’s body on June 13 last year.

PC Smith said in a statement that Mrs Richardson had contacted him earlier that day when she was worried that her husband had not returned home after completing his early-morning milk delivery.

He spoke to his partner Lynn Schofield, who told him that she had found Mr Richardson’s green Toyota pick-up truck on land off Harrison Lane adjacent to the land that the farmer owned.

His partner called him to the site at around 5pm and they found Mr Richardson’s body lying in the field with a shotgun pointed to his chin. Two spent gun cartridges were also found. A post-mortem examination revealed that he died from a severe gun shot injury to his head.

The farmer had recently been diagnosed with depression and saw his GP several times in the weeks before his death.

Mrs Richardson added that with the help of his family and friends he was trying hard to get through his illness and had arranged to see a psychiatric nurse before he died. He had also discussed getting cognitive behavioural therapy and had been diagnosed anti-depressants.

She said: “I knew he was really ill but I really didn’t think he would do this because he had so many people helping him.

“I felt that if the pills worked we could get back on track and then we could get to the source of the problem.”

Mr Whittaker recorded that Mr Richardson took his own life whilst the balance of his mind was disturbed.

He said: “I have no doubt that this was a self-inflicted injury and he deliberately ended his life.

“There were answers to his problems, but that was something that in his depressed state he can’t have taken on board.”