AN ELTON man who feared he was going blind shot himself in his bedroom while his wife was downstairs.
William Henry Weekes, 65, of School Lane, had been forced to give up his hobby of shooting after his eyesight began to fail, an inquest at Chester Magistrates’ Court heard.
On the morning of April 18 the retired operator used his gun – which he kept in a cabinet in his house – to take his own life.
Mr Weekes’s wife Patricia, 64, told the court she had gone downstairs at 5am, leaving her husband awake in bed.
She said: “I went down till 10am and went to go back upstairs to call him. And, as I opened the hall door to go up the stairs, he shouted ‘I’m up, I’m coming’.
“Within about five minutes I heard a bang. I thought he’d fallen. It didn’t sound like a gun.
“As I got to the top of the stairs and just turned I could see the blood on the carpet. I knew what he had done as soon as I looked into the bedroom.”
Mrs Weekes said her husband had previously been very active, but had stopped shooting after losing the sight in one eye and suffering glaucoma and optic nerve damage in the other.
She added: “He was by nature a worrying person and imagined the worst, but never said he’d hurt himself. He always said he’d never do anything like that because his brother did it 30 years ago.
“He was losing everything. Eyesight, driving licence, everything was going.”
She said Mr Weekes had started carrying the keys to his gun cupboard on his person in the months before his suicide.
“I didn’t think anything of it,” she said.
Coroner Nicholas Rheinberg said Mr Weekes had been to the doctor frequently in the months before his death and was suffering anxiety and difficulty sleeping.
He said police were satisfied there were no suspicious circumstances.
Mr Rheinberg added: “I think the fear was that he was losing his sight entirely.
“I’m of a view that this is not something that would have happened in a normal state of mind.”
He said Mr Weekes had taken his life while the balance of his mind was disturbed.