Depressed young father shot himself

A YOUNG father made himself a cup of tea before driving to a picnic area near his Cublington home and shooting himself in the head, an inquest heard this week.

Twenty-seven-year-old father of one, Luke Soames, of Steart Farm, Stewkley Road, was found dead next to his car on May 6 by water board worker, Peter Smith.

Mr Smith told the inquest: "It was about 10am when I passed into the entrance of the picnic area.

"I saw a red Ford Fiesta with its doors open, then noticed a man laying on the floor next to it.

"I got up to about five yards away but didn't go any closer when I realised he was dead.

"He had a shotgun resting on his chest.

"I called the police and an ambulance on my mobile –- they turned up at about 10.30am."

Unemployed Mr Soames, had recently moved back in with his parents and saw his five-year-old daughter from a previous relationship every day. He suffered from severe depression and was taking a number of anti-depressants at the time of his death.

Dr Varughese Thomas, of the Aylesbury Mental Health Team, had regular appointments with him and told the inquest on Wednesday about some of his difficulties.

"Luke was suffering from depression, binge drinking and suicidal thoughts," he said.

"He had a persistent stream of worries.

"He couldn't sleep well, had lost lots of weight, was fearful of collapsing and experienced panic attacks.

"He wanted to come off the alcohol, which he did for a few months before his death, but he felt empty without it.

"He had been drinking heavily since the age of 17 and without drink he was often anxious and paranoid.

"The last time I saw him, on May 1, he said he had no plans to kill himself.

"But his mood changed from minute to minute."

The inquest heard evidence from Mr Soames' mother, who last saw him alive in the kitchen of their home just minutes before he took his own life.

She said he had seemed normal that day and she had no idea he was planning to kill himself.

"Luke had got up at 8am that day and was helping his dad," she said.

"I spoke to him in the kitchen at about 9.30am – he was making a cup of tea.

"But that was the last time I saw him.

"He had said in the past that he wanted to jump in front of a train, but I had no idea he was still thinking about killing himself."

The coroner at Amersham Magistrates' Court, Richard Hulett, summed up by saying: "Here was a young man who from the age of 17 had problems and difficulties, intense anxieties and depression, whose life revolved around alcohol.

"He had been better just before he died and was back home helping the family.

"His behaviour was relatively normal the day he died.

"But he took out the family gun, went to a picnic area and shot himself.

"He had felt suicidal for a number of years and had been on a regime of medicine over a long period of time."

Mr Hulett recorded a verdict of suicide.