Dad shot himself after sex claims
AN electrician shot himself in the head after discovering sex allegations had been made against him, an inquest heard.
The first Steven Copestick had known about the complaints was when a friend rang to let him know people were gossiping about him at their local pub.
The father-of-one was so alarmed he went to see a solicitor two days later.
But shortly after returning home from the appointment, the 40-year-old took a Beretta shotgun out of a locked cabinet in his spare bedroom and pulled the trigger.
Partner Sharon Bloor, who lived with him at Walkergreen Road, Waterhayes, told the inquest: "He said he needed to go to the toilet and went upstairs. Then the gun went off."
She alerted the emergency services, but they were unable to save him.
A post-mortem examination later revealed he had suffered extensive skull and brain injuries.
At yesterday's hearing it emerged Mr Copestick died never knowing the full details of the allegations, although he had strenuously denied any wrongdoing.
He was also unaware no further action was going to be taken against him as detectives had already interviewed the two females making the complaints. Both females had chosen not to pursue the matter further.
Ms Bloor said her partner had been stunned to find out on October 13 he was the subject of gossip at the Duck pub in Bignall End.
"He was in a mess. He collapsed. I tried to console him, but I couldn't," she said. "He didn't sleep all night. He hadn't eaten or drank anything."
The following day, Mr Copestick handed Ms Bloor a letter, indicating he was considering suicide.
"I read it. He was crying," she said. "I hugged him and told him it would be OK."
When he returned from seeing the solicitor on October 15, she said he had initially seemed all right. It was only when she heard the shot she knew something was horribly wrong.
Mr Copestick had been a registered firearms keeper and had two shotguns, which he occasionally used for clay pigeon shooting.
Detective Constable Gary Cliffe told the inquest police had not had a chance to interview Mr Copestick about the allegations.
He said: "Two females were seen by police, but neither wished to pursue the complaints."
Margaret Jones, assistant deputy coroner for North Staffordshire, recorded a verdict that Mr Copestick killed himself.
She said: "We will never know if these allegations were substantiated or unsubstantiated. But it's very clear Mr Copestick said they were wrong. He denied the complaints. He went to the bedroom, using a shotgun, and sadly took his own life."
Following yesterday's hearing, Mr Copestick's parents, Philip and Thelma Copestick, issued a statement, saying: "Steven was a loving son and father. He is sadly missed by his family and all his true friends. We've had so many cards and letters of condolence, we think this alone speaks volumes about the person he was. We loved him very much and miss him every day."
If you feel you may want to take your own life or are concerned about someone else who might, talk to the Samaritans on 08457 909090. Alternatively contact your GP.