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Calne man diagnosed with cancer shot himself, inquest told
8:39am Monday 18th March 2013 in News
Retired factory worker Noel Stanley Smith was suffering from oesophageal cancer when he shot himself, an inquest heard.
The cancer was discovered during a post-mortem examination by pathologist Dr Lazic Darko following the discovery of his body on October 9 last year.
He was found at his house in The Pippin, Calne, by neighbours Maria and Michael Ives when they tried to visit him at 4pm that day for a regular catch up, the inquest in Salisbury was told on Friday.
Mrs Ives, who knocked three times before letting herself in with a key, said the downstairs the curtains were still shut and she found A4 notes selotaped to an old clothes hose explaining what he had done.
She said: “I went upstairs to make sure he had done what he had done. He was in bed with the duvet pulled up to his chin. I could see that he was dead.”
Mr Smith, a bachelor, retired early from his factory job to look after his mum when she began to show signs of Alzheimer’s but was eventually forced to place her in a care home.
Mrs Ives, who knew Mr Smith through his mum, said this decision had saddened him because they were a very close family.
She also said near the time of his death he lost weight and she could see he was in pain sometimes.
She said: “He refused to go to the doctor’s. He didn’t want to die in hospital and he didn’t want to resuscitated either.
“He said if you come in one day and you see me on the floor and I’m not dead yet leave me.”
Mr Smith, originally born in Taynton Oxfordshire, was diagnosed with Barrett’s Metaplasia, which indicates a person is susceptible to oesophageal cancer in 1988, and was taking a drug to reduce the amount of acid in his stomach.
But a statement from Calne GP Dr Andrew Thornton said there was no record to show he had received a diagnosis of cancer.
Mr Smith was last visited by his cousin Andrew Charles Smith, of Lechlade, ten days before his death, who said Mr Smith was competent with a gun.
He said: “He was quite down in the dumps when we got there. He complained about his hernia, he had a lump in his stomach, but he didn’t say he had oesophageal cancer.
“He said that he had had 73 good years and he was quite happy the way he was and didn’t want anybody to make a fuss of him.
“I thought he had got rid of his guns years ago- one of the local gun merchants took them to be assessed and eventually he was paid for them.”
Sgt Peter Auburn, who visited the house following Mr Smith’s death, said he found a gun in his hand and cartridges and shots in a cabinet.
At the end of the inquest coroner Ian Singleton said:
“Noel was the one who pulled the trigger. I’ve heard there was a tumour in the oesophagus, which although didn’t cause Noel’s death provided a reason for his death.”