Sheffield company director who raised £1m for good causes shot himself, inquest hears

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A 'very well respected' finance director who raised up to £1 million for good causes took his own life by shooting himself, an inquest heard.

Andrew James Bedingfield, 45, of Dronfield, was found dead in a wooded area near where he lived on the evening of November 16, 2018.

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Mr Bedingfield was a senior investment director at Investec Wealth and Development in Sheffield and had raised up to £1million for various good causes.

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Andrew James Bedingfield.Andrew James Bedingfield.
Andrew James Bedingfield. | Other 3rd Party

The dad-of-two had been suffering from stress and anxiety over fears he would lose his job of 20 years after his employer launched an investigation into 'transgression of company policy and financial regulation' against him in September 2018.

One of the matters related to using his personal mobile phone to make work calls.

During the investigation Mr Bedingfield told his GP he had 'fleeting thoughts of suicide' and had 'gone three days without sleep'.

Mr Bedingfield admitted the allegations but the result of the investigation, which was concluded after he died, found there was no wider wrongdoing and that it was a 'one off'.

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It is unlikely that he would have lost his job, an inquest at Chesterfield Coroner's Court heard.

On November 16, 2018, Mr Bedingfield, a licenced shotgun holder, got a taxi to the woods and fatally shot himself after dialling 999 and telling police he was 'at the top of the woods near a bench'.

He left behind notes to his family saying 'please give me a good send off' and had made financial arrangements which coroner Peter Nieto said was evidence of 'pre-planning'.

"For those reasons I conclude that Andrew undertook a deliberate act with the intention of taking his own," Mr Nieto said.

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An inquest was resumed today at Chesterfield Coroner's Court after a previous hearing in April was adjourned as Mr Bedingfield's family requested more information from Derbyshire police into their emergency response to the incident.The main question surrounded why it took officers two hours to find Mr Bedingfield after he rang 999 and told police where he was.

However, a detailed police report read out in court by Mr Nieto explained how two unarmed local officers had been deployed to the scene and were searching the area but were told to withdraw once police were made aware by Mr Bedingfield's family that his shotgun was missing from his home.

Armed officers were then asked to attend the scene which caused a 'short delay' as they were travelling from Ripley.

But Mr Nieto said the delay would not have made a difference as it was 'likely' that Mr Bedingfield turned the gun on himself after his 999 call as the first officers who attended the scene within 15 minutes did not hear any gunshots being fired.

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Mr Nieto added: "The evidence points to Andrew having fired the gun before police got to the woods."

Investec offered support to Mr Bedingfield during the work investigation and has since enhanced its mental health support to employees further.

Mr Bedingfield was 'very well respected and liked' and would be 'truly missed', the court heard.

Mr Nieto recorded Mr Bedingfield's cause of death as gunshot injury to the head and concluded it was suicide.