Gunman took his own life, inquest rules

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A DEPRESSED man shot his former lover in the back of the head before turning the gun on himself.

Both gunshot wounds were in roughly the same place, an inquest heard yesterday.

Mark Osler, 51, seriously injured but did not kill his victim, Rachel Puttock, who was able to give evidence via a television link at the hearing in Lynn Magistrates’ Court.

Mrs Puttock said she had walked past Mr Osler’s home in Oak Street, Feltwell, at about 11am on July 19 last year.

She was on her way to the doctor’s surgery with her daughter and grandson. He spoke to her but she could not remember what was said.

As they returned from the surgery, Mr Osler shouted at them. She took no notice but her daughter went to see him and then came back.

The next thing she remembered was being taken to hospital, where she underwent surgery to her brain. She still suffers impaired vision and hearing.

PC Philip Palmer said police were called and found Mr Osler’s body in a paddock behind Oak Street at 11.55am. He was lying on his back with a small handgun between his feet.

Detective Sergeant Andrew Ninham said Mrs Puttock’s daughter told police she saw him load the gun, put it at the back of her mother’s head and fire.

Inquiries showed he shortly afterwards shot himself with the same gun in the back of his head.

Mr Osler’s former wife, Paula Peckham, asked why she was not interviewed by police after telling an officer two days before the shootings what Mr Osler was going to do.

Det Sgt Ninham said police investigated but the officer she spoke to could not be found.

Greater Norfolk Coroner William Armstrong read a statement by Mr Osler’s GP saying he was being prescribed anti-depressants.

He had mentioned having fleeting suicidal thoughts in June. On July 9, he said he was still feeling low and anxious and sleeping badly but never expressed any intention to hurt anyone or take his own life.

What happened was completely unexpected and a great shock.

Mr Armstrong said he had decided the inquest should focus on the simple details of the circumstances of Mr Osler’s death.

He had a previous association with Mrs Puttock. “It must have been his intention to kill her or cause her serious injury.

“He then shot himself with his gun. I’m absolutely certain he did so with the intention of bringing his life to an end.”

He recorded a verdict that Mr Osler committed suicide while suffering from depression. He said he was very mindful of the suffering that the death had caused to many, many people and hoped they would now be able to move on from what happened.