An inquest into the deaths of former police inspector Bill Dowling and his partner Vicky Rose is due to begin later this morning in Salisbury.

The bodies of Mr Dowling, 59, and Mrs Rose, 58, were found in the porch of Mr Dowling’s house in Moonrakers, Devizes, by neighbours after gunshots were heard on Saturday morning, March 2 last year.

Police recovered a shotgun from the scene.

In a statement released shortly after the deaths, Mr Dowling’s shocked family said Mr Dowling’s emotional and mental wellbeing had been in sharp decline in the previous weeks.

A spokesman for Wiltshire Police confirmed that Mr Dowling’s mental wellbeing would form part of their investigation. Police confirmed Mr Dowling held a shotgun certificate and his licence had been renewed by Wiltshire Police’s firearms licensing department in 2011.

A police spokesman said: “There was no reason to suggest that the certificate should not be renewed. A certificate is valid for five years and is reviewed at the point of renewal.

“Anyone applying for a certificate or for its renewal would be subject to the robust systems in place to assess the suitability of those applying for licences which includes verification through our intelligence databases, we would contact the GP if the applicant has declared any medical condition that would give us cause for concern.

“Personal visits by licensing officers would take place for the grant of a shotgun certificate or on renewal if there was cause for concern.

“Our processes ensure that if there is any incident involving a certificate holder it is flagged electronically to the firearms licensing department to enable them to consider the certificate holder’s suitability to possess weapons.”

The deaths of Mr Dowling and Vicky Rose have shocked their families, friends and neighbours. Mr Dowling lived alone at his home in Moonrakers, where he had lived for more than 20 years.

Vicky Rose, who he had been in a relationship for some years, lived in nearby White Horse Way. The couple both had two grown-up sons and Mr Dowling had grandchildren. Mr Dowling was divorced from his wife, Pauline, with whom he had two sons, James, who lives in Devizes and works at police headquarters, and Paul, who, it is thought, lives in Dorset. He also had two grandchildren.