Shotgun-suicide father had considered death ‘for years’

A FATHER who shot himself in Godmanchester had been considering suicide for more than two years, an inquest heard.

A FATHER who shot himself in Godmanchester had been considering suicide for more than two years, an inquest heard.

In a note left to his family, Anthony Donnellan, 51, told his three sons and his ex-wife he was sorry and that he loved them.

Mr Donnellan, of The Whaddons, Huntingdon, was found to have alcohol levels four times the legal drink-drive limit when he killed himself near fishing lakes at Rectory Farm in Godmanchester on June 14.

At an inquest in Huntingdon on Wednesday (September 21), coroner David Morris recorded a verdict that Mr Donnellan had taken his own life.

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The court was told that Mr Donnellan’s death had been witnessed by a bailiff at the lakes during his evening rounds.

The bailiff called 999 and watched Mr Donnellan as he spoke to the emergency control room, coroner’s officer Rachel Middleton told the inquest.

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“He could see the man from the neck up as he was hidden by reeds. He then heard a loud bang and saw the man fall backwards,” she said.

Paramedics and firearms officers attended the scene, removing the shotgun from between Mr Donnellan’s legs, where it had fallen, and making it safe.

Pc Les Ellmer, who was called to the incident, said: “[Mr Donnellan] had a gunshot wound to the head, and there was a vast amount of blood. He appeared to show no signs of life.”

Pc Ellmer visited the home of Mr Donnellan’s ex-wife and three sons, who were “completely devastated” to learn of the news.

Nicola Rice told officers that she and Mr Donnellan had divorced two years earlier after more than 20 years of marriage. She said the couple had been struggling with their mortgage and Mr Donnellan had been drinking heavily, but that he had last seen his family just two days before his death.

Mr Donnellan, who had not been working because of an injury and was claiming benefits, was sharing a house in The Whaddons at the time of his death.

In his room, police found an empty gun safe with valid firearms certificate, and a note to his family.

“The note said he had been putting the day off for two years,” said Pc Ellmer.

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