Norfolk farmer found dead near his home in East Harling died from shotgun wound to the head, inquest heard

A Norfolk farmer found dead near to his home days after an investigation was launched into allegations of cruelty at his farm died from a shotgun wound to the head, an inquest has heard.

The body of Stephen Brown, 52, of Harling Farm, Eccles Road, East Harling, was discovered at around 7.30am on Wednesday<14>.

Opening an inquest into the death of Mr Brown in Norwich today Norfolk Coroner William Armstrong said a post mortem examination has been carried with a preliminary report stating cause of death as severe head injury due to a shotgun blast.

Mr Armstrong said Mr Brown, who was married to Fiona, was pronounced dead by a paramedic on Wednesday after being discovered on a track outside his vehicle adjacent to Quidenham Road, East Harling.

A police investigation has taken place but there were found to be no suspicious circumstances or any evidence of third party involvement.

Mr Brown was last seen by his father Michael at about 5.45am on Wednesday who later returned to find his son's vehicle had gone and, concerned for his welfare, commenced a search of the surrounding area.

When Mr Brown was found on the track outside the vehicle there was no sign of life.

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The inquest was adjourned to a date to be fixed.

As previously reported the RSPCA had begun an investigation when animal rights group Animal Equality produced video footage of pigs being kicked, slapped and beaten with iron bars.

The group sent an undercover investigator to work at the farm for two months last summer and gathered more than 200 hours of footage and 300 photographs.

Those that knew Mr Brown have spoken about the gentle man whose family had farmed in East Harling for generations.

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