A 96-YEAR-OLD retired farmer from Winsford who suffered from bad health killed himself with a shotgun, an inquest has heard.

A hearing at Warrington Coroner’s Court on Wednesday was told how Eric Walker was found on the doorstep of his home in Llandovery Close on the morning of March 25.

Mr Walker had been discharged from Leighton Hospital the evening before following a month-long stay after treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which left him dependant on an oxygen and breathing appliance.

Statements from doctors at Leighton Hospital said during bouts of ill health, the widower had made several remarks to family members and healthcare workers that he had ‘lived his life’ and ‘did not want to go on any more’.

The hearing also heard that Mr Walker was still grieving for Mary, his wife of 69 years Mary, who died in December 2016. The couple were inseparable until she moved into Winsford Grange Care Home when her motor neurone disease deteriorated.

The court was told that a support worker from Star Care visited Mr Walker when he returned from hospital and after speaking to him for 20 minutes, said there was no cause for concern.

However, at 1am his body was found on the doorstep of his house along with a shotgun. Police were called and enquiries concluded that Mr Walker’s death was not suspicious.

Family members said they were not aware Mr Walker had the firearm but assumed he had kept it from his farming days when he would shoot ducks.

Mr Walker, an engineer in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War, ran a dairy and pig farm before he retired.

In a statement read out at the inquest, forensic pathologist Dr Butterworth said the pensioner had not taken any medication that had caused or contributed to his death.

He said the post mortem examination revealed traces of alcohol were present but were not high enough to suggest any form of intoxication at the time of death.

Cheshire coroner Claire Welch revealed a verdict that Mr Walker had died as a result of suicide through a gunshot wound.

She said: “On the balance of probability I believe, beyond any reasonable doubt, that Eric could only have performed this fatal act with the final intention being his own death.

“I am also aware of how he had a brief history of low mood. I wish to offer my sincere condolences to the family at this time.”