A SUICIDAL former Mayor would not talk about his plans to take his own life because he did not want to put his family in trouble, an inquest heard.

John Edwards took a fatal overdose last year after being diagnosed for the second time with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

His wife Isobell told the Hereford coroner that the 79-year-old would have spoken to doctors about assisted suicide had the law been changed to allow this to happen.

However, Mr Edwards – a former Mayor of Ross-on-Wye – took an overdose of a prescribed drug and was found unconscious in bed with a note beside him entitled "Farewell Letter".

Last Wednesday's hearing was told Mr Edwards had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in his throat 30 years ago and had intensive treatment.

When diagnosed with the cancer again in 2011 he was only allowed a certain amount of treatment due to the earlier overuse of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

His lungs and breathing deteriorated and, in 2013 he was told he had pulmonary fibrosis, which was terminal.

Mrs Edwards said: "John felt he had beaten the cancer but then had this which was a catch 22."

She said Mr Edwards went to bed early at their home in Gloucester Road, Ross-on-Wye on July 23 and, the following morning, she found a note which said he had taken an overdose of prescribed medicine and asked not to be resuscitated.

Mr Edwards was taken to Hereford County Hospital and later transferred to Ross Community Hospital, where he died.

A toxicology report showed he had oxycodone in his system.

This is a prescribed drug but neither his doctor nor the hospital had given a prescription.

Mrs Edwards said she did not know where her husband obtained the drugs.

She said she would never give him any drugs to assist him in an overdose and, as a former pharmacist, it would go completely against all her training.

Detective sergeant Christopher Watson, who investigated his death, said Mr Edwards was well cared for by his loving family in his final months and there was no evidence to suggest any suspicious circumstances or third party involvement.

Mr Edwards served as Ross Mayor from 2009 to 2010. He was a financial journalist for the Financial Times for 25 years until his retirement in 1990.

The cause of death was recorded as bronchopneumonia with an antecedence of an overdose of opiate based drugs, with complications arising from the end stage of pulmonary fibrosis.

Deputy coroner Roland Wooderson said Mr Edwards was suffering from "a very grave illness" and was in pain during his last months.

He added: "Clear from the evidence I have read, not only was he not in good health, he had considered certainly at some stage the taking of his own life."

He recorded a verdict of suicide.