A husband killed himself in the exact place where his wife had committed suicide just a month earlier, an inquest heard today.
Carrol Steer, 72, and Neil Steer, 73, lived in the same family home in Lymington, Hampshire for 51 years while husband and wife.
Mrs Steer, who was on several medications for her arthritis and blood pressure, had mixed up her tablets and ‘became upset’.
After leaving a note at home, she killed herself in a secluded area of a nature reserve while her husband was out playing bowls on May 22.
Just a month later, her husband Neil did the same thing in the same place because of his grief and guilt at being unable to help his wife.
Winchester Coroners Court heard Mrs Steer left a note in her home under her husband’s glasses case.
Referring to the mix up in her medication, the mother-of-one and grandmother said: ‘I have let you all down so badly and I am deeply ashamed.
‘I had a senior moment. I am no good to you, I am spoiling your life. You are better off without me. I have spoilt your whole lives I think.’
After returning home from bowls, Mr Steer found his wife’s note and called his daughter Kate and police.
Officers found Mrs Steer hanging in a seculded area at Golden Hill woodland, in Hordle, Hants.
The inquest heard Mr Steer went out looking for his wife but was unable to find her.
After his wife’s death, Mr Steer had asked police to take him to where officers had found her body and was able to retrieve his flat cap, which Mrs Steer had taken with her.
Weeks later, on June 23, 2017 – a month after his wife’s death – Mr Steer’s body was found in the exact same spot.
He left several notes at his home, including care notes on how to look after the couple’s six-month-old Labradoodle puppy Toby, his mother’s care home information, and where to find things in the bungalow.
In a note, read out by assistant coroner for Hampshire Simon Burge, Mr Steer, who was a former Hampshire Police special, wrote of his grief at being unable to help his wife.
He said: ‘Since Carrol has gone I realise my love for her was so consuming that I literally cannot live without her.
‘I cannot function at any level and can not accept that I failed to understand or realise the problems that she had and I therefore failed the one person that meant everything to me.
‘I can not live with the possibility that when searching for Carrol in the woods, I failed to investigate a noise as at the time I was not aware she had any metallic objects with her.
‘Despite supportive family and friends I am still weighed down with fear and dread.’
Mr Burge recorded both Mr and Mrs Steer died of suicide as a result of hanging.
Speaking about Mrs Steer, he said: ‘This was a deliberate act, she did not tell her husband or her daughter where she was going or what she was intending to do.
‘They had no way of anticipating what she was going to do or prevent it. Nobody could have done anything to stop what happened.
‘Mrs Steer was supported by those close to her, in particular her daughter who is here today. It is a double tragedy in this case.
‘Given the location, the circumstances, the method and the note left, I am satisfied the appropriate conclusion in this case is suicide.
‘On May 22, 2017, at a time between 7.30 and 8.50, Mrs Steer took her own life by hanging in a wooded area at Golden Hill woodland and she died at the scene.’
In regards to Mr Steer, Mr Burge said: ‘He did intend to take his own life. Suicide is the appropriate conclusion.’
Speaking to Mr Steer’s family, he added: ‘I want to offer my sincere condolences on your loss. To have lost one parent is bad enough but to lose two is terrible.
‘Thank you for sitting through what must have been a very painful hour and a half today. I wish your family the very best for the future.’