Suicide verdict over Albrighton huntsman's gun death

An experienced member of the Albrighton Hunt died after shooting himself, an inquest ruled this afternoon.

Huntsman Ray Shaw with his hounds at the opening meet of The Albrighton Hunt at Whiston Hall at Boningale
Huntsman Ray Shaw with his hounds at the opening meet of The Albrighton Hunt at Whiston Hall at Boningale

Ray Shaw, aged 45, was found dead in his home on December 11 last year by two members of the hunt.

South Shropshire coroner John Ellery returned the verdict that Mr Shaw had killed himself.

The inquest, held at Bridgnorth Council Chamber, heard that Mr Shaw had used his hand gun to shoot himself.

His wife, Margaret Shaw, told the inquest he had used the hand gun frequently in his job, which involved looking after hounds and horses used for the hunt, and humanely killing injured animals.

She said: "He loved his dogs and his horses. He had the shot gun as a humane killer. It took one bullet and he used it often in his job.

"He never made a mistake and never got anything wrong, even with the horses.

"He would say they were dead before they hit the ground, those were his words."

The inquest also heard how when a CID officer told Mrs Shaw her husband had been found dead, she replied: "He's shot himself."

Mrs Shaw said: "He always said that would be the way he would go, but I always thought it was just in jest."

Miles Salmon, a former joint master huntsman for the Albrighton Hunt, went to Mr Shaw's house on Holyhead Road, Albrighton, when he failed to turn up for the hunt.

He and another hunt member Brian Hinks forced a door and Mr Salmon found Mr Shaw in his bedroom.

He said: "He was white and had his hands by his side. I called Brian and then we went downstairs."

Coroner Ellery ruled that Mr Shaw had died at his home sometime after7.20pm on December 11.

The post mortem, carried out at Princess Royal Hospital in Telford on December 14, said Mr Shaw had died from a gunshot wound to his forehead.

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