Shotgun suicide of Doncaster depression victim

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A multiple sclerosis victim who had become increasingly depressed about his condition shot himself dead at his home.

Darrell Morris shot himself only a few weeks after telling his sister he had considered killing himself because he was struggling to cope with his worsening illness.

An inquest at Doncaster Crown Court heard that Mr Morris, aged 51, of Newby Crescent, Balby, had been found between Christmas and New Year last year.

His son Andrew and fiancée Sara Storer broke into the property after looking through a window and seeing his blood-stained body slumped over a table.

The inquest was told Mr Morris, a father of three and retired train driver, had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in his 20s and had coped withe the condition up until a few years ago when his health and mobility began to deteriorate.

Giving evidence, son Andrew said: “He never let it get him down. He always tried to be independent as possible. He didn’t want it to stop him doing things.”

But in September 2012, Mr Morris suffered horrific burns to his foot from a fan heater which was too close to his skin for more than 12 hours.

He had not felt the heat because his MS had left him with numbness in his limbs.

Mr Morris received treatment for the burns and was in and out of hospital on a number of occasions after the wound become infected.

Andrew said: “It stopped him in his tracks. It affected him mentally and physically. He had dealt with his MS but this was another thing thrown at him which had further reduced his mobility. Mentally, it got him down.”

The court also heard he had been upset after the death of his mother’s partner in April 2013.His son said: “We could tell he was depressed and getting down and we tried to help him and keep him upbeat. We could see he was deteriorating.”

Mr Morris’ sister Sherene Hawes said in written evidence her brother had started using a wheelchair scooter about five years ago as his MS advanced.

She said: “He told me ‘I’m disabled, I am an old man’. He said he knew what was coming and had lost interest in everything and going out.”

Mrs Hawes convinced her brother to attend genealogy classes with her but during one class the topic of wills had been discussed.

“He became very upset and said he needed to change his will. He got in a state.”

An appointment had been made to change the will on December 10 last year but he cancelled at the last moment, saying he was ‘not up to it’ and was ‘in a dark place’.

Mrs Hawes said: “He told me he had thought about shooting himself a few weeks earlier but said he couldn’t go through with it.”

Mr Morris had also been prescribed anti-depressants by his GP and when Mrs Hawes saw him a few days later she said: “He seemed to have turned a corner and was picking up. He was happier and making plans.”

However, after spending Christmas with his family and celebrating his son’s engagement, Mr Morris returned home and killed himself with an old shotgun.

He had left a note and his will nearby, which were discovered shortly after his death on December 28.

Recording a conclusion of suicide, assistant Doncaster coroner Mark Beresford said:

“It is entirely clear to me that if Mr Morris had not suffered from MS, he would not have taken this action.”

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