Dersingham widower could not live without wife

A 76-YEAR-OLD widower hanged himself on New Year's Eve because he could not face living without his wife, whom he had known for more than half a century.

Frank Weston was found hanging by a rope in the garage of his home in Viceroy Close, Dersingham, by a neighbour after he left a note featuring a skull and crossbones image, and the word 'garage', on his back door.

He was also worried about an ear condition, and thought he may have skin cancer. He was concerned he may have had to see a specialist and have a skin graft.

Neighbour and friend Mr Patrick Shaw told an inquest at Lynn County Court on Friday that Mr Weston's wife, Marion, who was known as Betty, died in June 2007.

"He reacted very badly and missed her very much," Mr Shaw told Greater Norfolk Coroner Mr William Armstrong.

Between Betty's death in June and Christmas, Mr Weston had been finding things "very difficult", said Mr Shaw, adding: "He mentioned a few times he did not want to go on without her."

Friends and neighbours "chipped in" to help, and Mr Weston spent Christmas with Mr Shaw and his wife.

On New Year's Eve 2007, Mr Shaw returned from work at around 10.30pm and was having coffee when he was contacted by other neighbours of Mr Weston, concerned his curtains were closed and they had not seen him.

Mr Shaw found Mr Weston's body hanging from the garage ceiling. Ambulance crews were called but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The inquiry also heard Mr Weston had been in frequent contact with his niece Maureen Anstey who, in a statement, said he had said: "Don't be surprised if you hear I have done something, it's what I want, don't be upset," during nightly conversations. Mr Weston also left Mrs Anstey a letter in which he said he "didn't want to live my life without my Betty."

Medical evidence showed Mr Weston had been prescribed anti-depressants but wasn't keen about them after he read about them.

In conclusion, Mr Armstrong said Mr Weston had developed a serious anxiety about his ear condition but there had been no evidence of cancer. He and his wife had been together for 54 years and what had happened was clearly a "deliberate action" on his part.

Recording a verdict of suicide, he hoped Mr Weston was now happy and at peace with her.