Widower died after taking his own life, inquest hears

A widower described as '˜generous' and having '˜many friends' has died after shooting himself in the head, an inquest heard today (Thursday).

Thursday, 13th July 2017, 6:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th July 2017, 8:23 am
Eastbourne Town Hall

Derek Tommsett, 69, of Riddens Lane, Plumpton, was discovered dead in his home after taking his own life on May 2, the coroner found.

The court at Eastbourne Town Hall heard Mr Tommsett had been suffering from chronic pain and had become socially isolated after his wife’s death.

Mr Tommsett’s son, Christopher, described his father in a statement as ‘quiet and unassuming’ but ‘generous’ and having many friends.

The gardener enjoyed clay pidgeon shooting and socialising and ran several farms.

Christopher, who said he had been estranged from his father for years, said in the statement: “He missed his wife a lot. He may have suffered from depression but was never one to discuss emotions.

“He had remarked once that he would rather die quickly than suffer a painful death.

“I believe he thought he was looking at a cancer diagnosis. He was in great pain.”

His brother, John, discovered his body at his house after hearing his other brother had received a text from Mr Tommsett saying ‘take care of things for me please’, the court heard.

After calling several times and receiving no answer, the brothers rushed to Mr Tommsett’s house.

In a statement, John Tommsett said he knocked on the door with no answer, and couldn’t seen anything through the houses windows so he tried a door – which opened.

He said he found Mr Tomsett’s body lying on the floor, with a gun on his chest.

The statement said: “It was apparent he had shot himself in the head and died.

“I’m still feeling shocked to have seen him like that.

“This was a shock for us, he had never mentioned depression.

“His wife passed away, they were incredibly close. He had stopped being active and going to the pub which he enjoyed because of pain.”

Police found an envelope at the house with ‘my will’ written on it, which appeared as though it had been ‘left in the open for others to find’, said PC Peter Hall.

In a statement from DI Rob Morland, the officer reported neighbours said they had spoken to Mr Tommsett the day before and he appeared in quite a jolly mood.

He said there was no sign of a struggle and the father had been “planning his death for number of months and decided to taken his life with a shotgun that he owned.”

Coroner for East Sussex Alan Craze said: “In cases like this I can imagine the person has thought about the future and doesn’t see anything but a slow deterioration.

“He knew what he was doing. In a funny way it’s almost possible to take on board the decision he has made and treat it with some respect.

“It was his choice.”

The coroner concluded Mr Tommsett had taken his own life and expressed his sympathies to his family.

If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article, the Samaritans may be able to help – the charity’s helpline number is 116 123.