Retired businessman killed wife before shooting himself with shotgun

Police officers at the scene of the deaths last May
Police officers at the scene of the deaths last May

A retired businessman from Loddington shot his wife in the head before killing himself with a shotgun, an inquest heard.

Donald Knight, who was 78-years-old when he died last year, and his wife Mary, better known to friends as Margaret, 77, were both found dead, with gunshot wounds to their heads, at their remote property off Mawsley Road by police on May 1 last year – Mrs Knight’s birthday.

The couple’s inquest was heard at Northampton General Hospital today (Tuesday, February 25).

Mr Knight was the former chairman at Kettering haulage firm Knights of Old and retired about 16 years ago.

The inquest heard that Mrs Knight was found dead at home by her daughter Sarah, who immediately phoned police to say she believed her father had carried out the act.

Mrs Knight had suffered four gunshot wounds, two to the side of her head which proved fatal and two more to the abdominal area.

Her body was found sitting on a chair in the lounge inside their farmhouse, which is about half a mile from the centre of Loddington.

Mr Knight suffered a single gunshot wound to the head.

His body was found in the garden of the couple’s property.

The inquest was told that Mr Knight had also killed the couple’s pet dachshund, Daisy.

In the weeks before his death Mr Knight visited his GP and told her he was struggling to cope with running the couple’s farm and confessed that he had had suicidal thoughts.

However, on a subsequent visit to his GP he had said he was feeling much better.

The GP, Joanne Warcaba, told the inquest Mr Knight was clincally depressed.

One of the couple’s daughters, Sarah, also told the inquest her father was struggling to cope with maintaining his and his wife’s farm and had seemed down. He also had health concerns and had feared he had cancer, although this proved not to be the case.

She said he had got worse after returning from a cruise with his wife at around Christmas time in 2012.

A friend of the couple’s Christine Percival, from Brixworth, said Mr and Mrs Knight were private people but even so Mr Knight had once asaid to her that he had had suicidal thoughts.

Coroner Anne Pember recorded a verdict that Mrs Knight had been unlawfully killed while Mr Knight had killed himself.

She said: “I believe when Mr Knight was feeling low and depressed, not only did he take his own life, I believe he made a decision that his wife, of whom he was the main carer, that she should die as well on her birthday.”