Learning he had an untreatable brain tumour had ‘sealed the fate’ of a man who shot himself a day later, his widow said.

John Dudley, 67, was given the ‘devastating’ news by oncology specialists the day before he took his own life in his garden in Langford, near Lechlade, last November, Oxford Coroner’s Court heard.

The diagnosis followed his admission to hospital in September with a suspected stroke.

In a statement read to Mr Dudley’s inquest, widow Hilary said the outpatients’ appointment on November 23 when he was told that his aggressive brain tumour was essentially untreatable had ‘sealed John’s fate’.

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She believed that after the discussion with doctors, who she said gave him a prognosis of ‘three months at best’, her husband made up his mind to ‘take control’ of his life.

“The news was devastating for us. I couldn’t bear it for him. He’d always been such a strong and independent man,” said Mrs Dudley, who described her husband as ‘truly the love of my life’.

Mrs Dudley added that she believed her husband would not have wanted the ‘indignity of the deterioration of his health’, leaving him unable to look after himself.

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On the morning of his death, she had gone into Carterton to do the shopping and pick up a prescription.

When she returned at around 9.20am to 9.25am, the couple's two dogs were at the front gate barking. That was ‘unusual’ for the animals, she said.

She shouted for her husband but he did not reply. She found his body in the back garden next to his walking frame, initially thinking he had fallen down until she saw his shotgun and blood. She called 999 and asked for an ambulance.

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Police officers arrived within around 15 minutes, along with paramedics and air ambulance doctors. Mr Dudley was badly injured but still breathing.

He was taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital by ambulance. At the A&E, doctors concluded his injuries were not survivable. The equipment maintaining his breathing was removed and he died at 2.44pm.

Mrs Dudley described her husband as a ‘lovely man and truly the love of my life’. He was ‘always conscientious’, hard-working, with ‘good Christian values and always happy to help others’.

He was a carpenter and kitchen designer who had retired four months before his tragic death.

In her witness statement, made five days before Christmas last year and read to the inquest by senior coroner Darren Salter, she said that at his funeral service the church was ‘full of people who loved and cared for John’.

Describing the case as a ‘very sad’ one, Mr Salter said he was satisfied that Mr Dudley intended the outcome of his actions to be fatal. He recorded a conclusion of suicide.

  • For support with mental health, contact the Samaritans on 116 123 or visit www.samaritans.org. In a mental health crisis you should contact the emergency services by calling 999 or call 111 for the 24/7 Mental Health Helpline.