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The Norwich Guardian
9:32am Tuesday 23rd September 2008
By Court reporter
A RETIRED train driver killed himself because he thought he was a burden to his family.
In the nine years leading up to his death, Charles Fletcher, 86, of Griffths Drive, Rudheath, had successfully gone through two leg amputations due to his ill health.
During the past 12 months he became less independent and he said he didn’t want to be a burden to anyone.
- Charles Fletcher’s partner, Martha Massey
But an inquest in Crewe heard how he became depressed and on December 29, last year had taken a large dose of anti-depressants before putting a plastic bag over his head.
In a written statement, Martha Massey, his partner of 25 years, told assistant coroner Dr Janet Napier that before his amputations Mr Fletcher had been extremely fit and had looked after himself.
She described what happened after his operations.
Ms Massey said: “He had two artificial limbs but used a wheelchair in the house and a wheelchair to go out.
“During the past 12 months he became less independent and he said he didn’t want to be a burden to anyone.
“Two weeks before he died I noticed a plastic bag under his pillow.”
There was a family get together over the Christmas period with some relatives coming over from Australia.
Dr Napier was told he knew that having all his family together would mean they could support each other when he died.
Ms Massey described what had happened on December 29.
She said: “He was sat in a chair with a plastic bag over him. He felt cold. I was very shocked.
“Paramedics put him on the floor and tried to resusitate him. I followed the ambulance ot hospital but he never regained consciousness.”
Ms Massey added: “He was fun loving man, very generous and caring.
“He was very proud of his family.”
Mr Fletcher’s duaghter Christine Stelfox from Kelsall said: “I think he had just realised in his own mind he had had enough.
“More than anything else he was just concerned for his family. He felt it was enough for them.”
Dr Napier said he had been a very brave man, who had known exactly what he wanted to do and in its timing was thinking only of his family.