Electrocution death of widower who prayed to be with his wife

Abbeyfield, Harriet Street, Burnley.
Abbeyfield, Harriet Street, Burnley.
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An elderly widower killed himself by attaching live wires to his chest.

Retired tool-maker Mr Brian Bradshaw (78) was found dead in his flat at Abbeyfield House sheltered accommodation in Harriet Street, Burnley, on June 18th this year.

An inquest at Burnley Coroner’s Court heard that the pensioner, who was in the early stages of dementia, had wrapped an electrical cable around his wrists using an elastic band, plugged the cable into a live socket and attached the live wires to his chest.

Pathologist Dr Richard Prescott, who conducted the post-mortem examination, said Mr Bradshaw had died from electrocution.

In a statement to the inquest, Mr Bradshaw’s son, Gary, said that, in the weeks leading to his death, his father had prayed each night to be with his wife who had died in 2010.

In the three months leading up to his death, Mr Bradshaw had started to cancel family visits on a frequent basis.

Psychiatrist Dr Chris Linton told the inquest Mr Bradshaw had been diagnosed with the early stages of dementia. He had denied being depressed but had lost interest in life according to the psychiatrist.

Abbeyfield House manager Mrs Anne Dawber told the inquest in a statement that Mr Bradshaw had lived there for three years.

She said they had talked regularly and described him as a friendly person.

Mrs Dawber said that, on June 18th, Mr Bradshaw had complained of feeling unwell and had gone for a lie-down after lunch, which was not unusual.

The manager explained that when Mr Bradshaw did not appear in the dining room at 5pm she went to investigate and noticed a smell of burning in the corridor.

PC Natalie Whittaker told the hearing Mr Bradshaw was found collapsed on the floor with burn marks on his body.

Recording a conclusion of suicide, East Lancashire Coroner Mr Richard Taylor said: “Despite having no previous suicidal ideation, Mr Bradshaw had electrocuted himself using an extension lead and live wires.”