Depressed Sheffield man ‘shot himself in chest’, inquest hears

A depressed Sheffield man took his own life by shooting himself in the chest, an inquest heard.
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Semi-retired steelworker Martyn Whiteley, aged 55, from Stocksbridge, was found on July 10 last year in woodland off Manchester Road in Deepcar with a single self-inflicted gunshot wound to his chest.

On the morning of his death he sent text messages to close family members and left two notes, one with his partner Tracey Rhodes and the other with his brother Craig Whiteley.

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A text message to his brother read: “Love you little bro. Going to see mum, dad and the dogs.”

Sheffield's Medico-Legal Centre on Watery Street.Sheffield's Medico-Legal Centre on Watery Street.
Sheffield's Medico-Legal Centre on Watery Street.

Another text sent to his partner Tracey Rhodes read: “Just watched the sun come up. It looks as though it’s going to be a beautiful day. You can find me near where we walk the dogs. Bye for now until we meet again.”

A letter which was posted through Tracey’s front door was also read out in court.

It said: “The doctor asked me to put it down on paper to say that I am not a bad person and not to be ashamed of all the losses I have had in my life that I covered up.

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“Being the big brother and the man of the house I have had to put on a brave face and I was always told not to let my guard down. My life with you was one of the happiest times of my life and I have failed you badly.”

Friday’s inquest into Mr Whiteley’s death also heard written evidence from his GP, Dr Christine Atkin from the Valley Medical Centre in Stocksbridge, and PC David Beck who, along with Martyn’s partner Tracey, looked for him on the morning of his disappearance.

Dr Atkin said Mr Whiteley had sought treatment for depression earlier in July after his behaviour became erratic and he broke off his five-year long relationship with Tracey.

He was prescribed antidepressant drug citalopram and took information on accessing psychological help ‘with interest’, she added.

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PC Beck said his investigations had found that Mr Whiteley was in possession of a shotgun licence but had got rid of his guns when he moved in with his partner the previous year.

He bought another weapon from a Sheffield-based gun shop in the days before his death, however.

Recording a conclusion of suicide, assistant coroner Angharad Davies said it was obvious that Mr Whiteley was much-loved member of the family.

She said: “It is clear to me from a combination of the texts and letters he wrote and that he bought a shotgun in the days before his death that Martyn did intend to take his own life.”

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