AN ELDERLY farmer who died from a shotgun wound told his son he felt "past his sell-by date".

Thomas Nicholls, aged 88, was discovered by his son at home, called The Harbour, near Leominster, on September 26.

He was found with an antique shotgun by his side, while a police search conducted by Sgt Richard Rees proved there was no struggle, or burglary.

At an inquest last Thursday (January 24), Assistant Deputy Coroner for Herefordshire, Roland Wooderson, heard that Mr Nicholls lived alone and was on anti-depressants.

Mr Nicholls' son John - who visited his father the night before his death - told the coroner that his father's health had declined since a fall the year before. He suffered from severe headaches and sleepless nights.

"He told me he was past his sell-by day, but I always took those comments with a pinch of salt," said Mr Nicholls.

Dr Mark Hayes, pathologist at Hereford County Hospital, said the cause of death was discharge from a shotgun and that the victim was capable of pulling the trigger. A verdict of suicide was recorded.