Man wrecked home and killed himself with gun

A SOUTH Normanton dad smashed up the family home with a sledgehammer before blasting himself in the head with a shotgun.

Neil Wilkinson, 42, of Union Street, committed suicide as he faced the end of a seven-year relationship with bar worker Vicky Hewitt.

A Chesterfield inquest heard he set fire to his car and wrecked the house.

Ms Hewitt said he became “controlling and jealous”, accusing her of having affairs, and she told him the relationship was over in March of last year.

They got back together but the bid to rekindle their romance failed and, while attending a friend’s funeral the following October, he said he wished it was him being buried.

Ms Hewitt told police he had mood swings but did not appear to be depressed and that was the only occasion he mentioned dying until the eve of his suicide.

He told her he wanted to make things right between them during a shopping trip on November 5 – but she made it clear it was over. He said he felt like killing himself and she told him not to “do anything stupid”.

He then texted her: “Thanks for a rotten seven years. You have got to live with this. I have taken the easy way out, sorry.”

Ms Hewitt’s son, Ashley, returned to the house after 4pm to find a small fire inside his step-dad’s Ford Ranger and, taped to the house front door, an envelope marked Vicky.

“As I entered I could see everything was smashed except the windows. Pipes were broken and water was dripping through the ceiling. I was in shock,” said Ashley Hewitt.

Mr Wilkinson told Ashley: “I want you out of the house”. Ashley felt frightened and walked to the pub where his mother worked and told her what had happened. Mr Wilkinson’s body was then discovered inside the house.

He died from a shotgun wound to the head. Post-mortem examination tests revealed he had taken a significant amount of cocaine.

Ms Hewitt said he told her he had dabbled with drugs but she was unaware he still did. Mr Wilkinson had a licence for a 12-bore shotgun, which was stored in a gun cabinet at his dad’s home.

Deputy North Derbyshire Coroner Nigel Anderson said it was possible the cocaine had “warped” Mr Wilkinson’s thinking. He recorded a verdict that Mr Wilkinson took his own life.