A RETIRED taxi driver from Chester shot himself after battling cancer for nearly 10 years, an inquest heard.
Raymond Collier, 80, had been diagnosed with two forms of cancer and had struggled to come to terms with his deteriorating health.
Alice, his wife of 56 years, found his body at the couple’s home in Highfield Road, Blacon, on July 16 last year.
Mrs Collier had popped out to a supermarket that afternoon and left her husband alone at home.
When she returned she found Mr Collier in a back bedroom with a gun in his hand.
She rang the police who arrived soon afterwards along with an ambulance but paramedics were unable to save him.
Mrs Collier said her husband had complained of “having had enough” but she did not think he would take his own life.
“Before leaving I asked him if he was going to be all right,” she said.
“He said ‘yes’ – his last words to me that day before I left were ‘Alice, I do love you’.
“When I left that day he was the same as usual. He didn’t give me any reason to believe that anything was going to happen. With his illness he had had 10 years of it and I think he had had enough.”
Cheshire’s deputy coroner Dr Janet Napier was told Mr Collier had taken an overdose in 2005 while battling lung cancer.
Mrs Collier told the inquest her husband had regretted taking the overdose.
At the time of his death Mr Collier had been due to undergo a major operation which he did not want.
Mr Collier, a former farmer who was known as Ray to his family and friends, grew up in Eastham, Wirral, before moving to Chester.
Relatives described him as ‘popular’ and ‘someone who enjoyed making people laugh’ and said hundreds of people attended his funeral.
Dr Napier offered her sincere condolences to Mr Collier’s widow and his family and recorded a verdict of suicide.
“Mr Collier was an incredibly brave man and I imagine legions of people were very fond of him,” she said.
“The tragedy is in his illnesses. His health had been deteriorating and he was in a lot of pain.”