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'It was an honour to have him as our son' - father's tribute at inquest

King's Lynn coroners court, at Ikon Bishop's House on the Tuesday Market Place  Picture: Chris Bishop

King's Lynn coroners court, at Ikon Bishop's House on the Tuesday Market Place Picture: Chris Bishop

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Tributes have been to a 47-year-old car valeter who was found dead on a rural road.

Russell Houghton, from Downham Market, was pronounced dead on Stow Barn Road, Crimplesham, on June 30.

An inquest into his death at King's Lynn coroner's court on Friday heard he died of a shotgun injury.

Outside the hearing Mr Houghton's father, Patrick, said: "Russell was one of the best. He was honest, truthful, hard working and reliable. It was an honour to have him as our son."

He added he had been proud to see his son become Norfolk's supreme clay pigeon shooting champion in 2017 and 2018.

"He was fearless and competent and it was a pleasure to watch him be a winner," he said.

In evidence, area coroner Yvonne Blake heard Mr Houghton worked long hours and had suffered increasingly from sleeplessness and anxiety.

In a statement, Downham GP Dr Ray Scott, who had known him since birth, said owing to the physical nature of his work, he was exhausted and anxious when he got home and worried that he could no longer do the job.

Mr Houghton was signed off work and prescribed different anti-depressants in the weeks before he died. The coroner heard he suffered a reaction to one drug and feared another would cause his glaucoma to worsen.

Dr Scott said he did not express suicidal thoughts when he last spoke to him, on June 24.

"The tragedy on June 30 has devastated everybody," he added. "It's devastated his family and it's devastated me."

Summing up, Ms Blake said Mr Houghton had suffered several weeks of little sleep. She said he was so tired that he could not think straight at the time of his death.

She said she had not reached a conclusion of suicide, because she was not satisfied Mr Houghton had the capacity to understand the consequences of his actions.

"Russell did take his own life but he did so in the context of being sleep-deprived," she said, adding he did so against a background of anxiety and depression.

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