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Ex-Holt town councillor could not cope after wife’s death, inquest told

14:51 20 August 2014

Norfolk coroner

Norfolk coroner's court in Norwich. Photo: Denise Bradley.

Archant 2012

A former Holt town councillor took his own life three months after his beloved wife died, because he missed her so much, an inquest heard.

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William Dunham, 86, known as Billy, was found by one of his daughters at the family home in Peacock Lane, Holt on June 26.

Yesterday’s Norwich inquest heard that Mr Dunham’s wife Mary had died in March. The death notice in the EDP for Mr Dunham read: “Married 60 years, just could not live without his beloved Mary. Together again. Both always forever in our hearts.”

None of Mr Dunham’s family attended the inquest, but in a statement read to the court, his daughter Julie Wilson said the retired prison officer and Holt greengrocer was constantly saying how much he was missing his wife.

She arrived at her father’s home at about 3.30pm on June 26, and found his body hanging in an upstairs room. She ran out of the house screaming ‘He’s gone, he’s gone’, the inquest heard.

The previous week, Mr Dunham had laid out family photographs in his late wife’s room, and she said she believed her father had intended to take his own life ever since her mother’s funeral.

Pc Susie Crowe attended the house and in a statement read to the court, she said that, on arrival, she was told by Mr Dunham’s family that he had been struggling to cope with his wife’s death. While the family were grieving, they believed their father would be happy now, she said.

The cause of death was given as hanging and Norfolk coroner Jacqueline Lake concluded that he died from suicide.

After the inquest, Michael Hill, a current Holt town councillor, said: “I think of him as a Holt boy; as a councillor and someone who always said what he thought. You always knew where you were with Billy. He was always a figure out in the community and he will be missed.”

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