A bereaved dad shot himself and his beloved dog at his son’s grave so the three would be ‘united’ again, an inquest heard.
Allen Hinchliffe, 52, died in hospital weeks after shooting himself twice in the abdomen at the grave of his 20-year-old son Ben, who had died six months earlier in a road accident.
Bradford Coroner’s Court heard Mr Hinchliffe went to the cemetery in Hade Edge and shot Jake, the dog he and Ben had jointly owned, before turning the gun on himself.
The sports shotgun bore a plaque with the words: ‘In loving memory of Ben’, the inquest was told.
Mr Hinchliffe, of Scholes, was taken to the Northern General Hospital, Sheffield, despite pleading with police and paramedics not to help him, the court heard.
Despite an initial recovery, Mr Hinchliffe died three weeks later after his wounds became infected.
The court heard the father had been ‘devastated’ by the loss of his son who died when his Suzuki 4x4 struck a wall at the junction of Penistone Road and Church Street, New Mill, on October 29, last year.
Concluding that Mr Hinchliffe had intentionally taken his life, Coroner Oliver Longstaff, said: “It seems Mr Hinchliffe found it extremely difficult to keep on with life and the turn it had taken.
“I am entirely satisfied he went to Ben’s grave in the hope of uniting the three of them.”
The court heard Mr Hinchliffe had enjoyed an ‘extremely close’ relationship with Ben, of Meltham and had a ‘deep affection’ for dog Jake with whom the pair would regularly go hunting.
Mr Longstaff added that Mr Hinchliffe, a former roofer, had shot his dog as a result of ‘acute distress rather than cruelty’.
The inquest heard that earlier in his life Mr Hinchliffe had suffered bouts of depression and had had his shotgun confiscated, although his licence was renewed after he recovered.
Mr Longstaff said: “I am in no doubt that Mr Hinchliffe absolutely intended what was going to happen to him. The reasons why he felt that way are obvious and the steps he took are obvious.”
Armed police and paramedics were scrambled to Hade Edge Methodist Church after neighbours spotted Mr Hinchliffe firing a shotgun in the graveyard.
One neighbour had spotted Mr Hinchliffe sitting in the churchyard for several hours despite poor weather before any shots were fired, the inquest heard.