A grieving father used a shotgun bearing his late son’s name to shoot himself and his dog at his son’s grave.
An inquest has heard how Allen Hinchliffe was so overcome with grief at the loss of his son, that he took his own life, and that of their beloved dog, in an attempt to reunite the three of them.
Mr Hinchliffe took his dog Jake and a sports shotgun that carried a plaque with the words “In loving memory of Ben” engraved on it up to his son’s grave. Once at the graveside, he shot the dog he had jointly owned with his son before turning the shotgun on himself, shooting himself in the stomach.
Mr Hinchliffe’s son Ben had died six months earlier when he fell asleep at the wheel without a seatbelt on; his 4×4 left the road and hit a wall, killing him. The inquest heard that Ben and his father had been “extremely close” and would often go hunting together, accompanied by their dog. Mr Hinchliffe had been “devastated” when his son was killed.
Mr Hinchliffe initially survived the attempt to take his own life and was taken to Northern General Hospital in Sheffield, despite repeated pleas to the emergency services not to help him. While in hospital, Mr Hinchliffe’s wounds became infected and he died three weeks after the shooting.
Coroner Oliver Longstaff concluded that Mr Hinchliffe took his own life: “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.”
“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.”