Original article no longer available
The Star, Sheffield
Published Date: 19 September 2008
By Sarah Dunn
A DOTING husband and father shot himself in the chest after becoming convinced he had contracted asbestos poisoning and could pass it on to his family, an inquest heard.
Steven Ruddlesdin, aged 42, used one of his three licensed shotguns to fire the fatal bullet in the loft of his home in Upper Hoyland Road, Hoyland, Barnsley, where he lived with wife Lyn and their eight-year-old son.
The self-employed building contractor had been suffering severe anxiety and depression for three months up to the tragedy.
He was worried he had not used the correct safety gear when removing asbestos sheeting from barn roofs.
A Sheffield inquest heard he had become ‘fixated’ on the idea of contracting asbestosis, and believed he was also a threat to his wife and son.
The idea haunted him on a family holiday in Ibiza, where he continued to try to find out about the effects and dangers of asbestos.
His mum Pamela told the court he had phoned home up to 10 times that week, and she believed him to be feeling ‘at rock bottom.’
Mr Ruddlesdin saw his GP and was referred to a psychiatrist, who put him on anti-depressants and he appeared to be improving. A chest X-ray came back clear.
But less than three weeks later on July 1 Mr Ruddlesdin shot himself, while Lyn was at a presentation at their son’s school.
Family friend Julie Trevy, to whom he had often chatted about his worries, said in a statement: “His main concern was that he had passed it to the family.
“He felt as if he could never laugh again. He was a lovely, genuine man who worshipped Lyn. He had traditional views of wanting to provide for his family.”
Pathologist Dr Steven Beck said the cause of death was a shotgun wound to the chest.
Recording a verdict that Mr Ruddlesdin took his own life, coroner Christopher Dorries said he had been “suffering from an extreme anxiety state.”