Peak District farmer shot himself over fears for farm

NEWS: News.
NEWS: News.

A hard-working farmer who believed he was about to lose everything “snapped” and shot himself through the chest, an inquest heard.

Kevin Wigley, 52, who was known to friends and family as Jim, used a double-barrel shotgun to end his life at the farm he owned in Painters Way, Winster, on the evening of July 10 last year.

On Monday, the inquest heard that Mr Wigley had become “fixated” that wife of 17 years, Kerry, was going to leave him – despite there being no evidence that this was the case – and had been told his herd of cattle had been diagnosed with Tuberculosis.

Mr Wigley also lost many sheep in the late April snow and believed he had no choice but to give up the farm that had been in his family for generations, the inquest heard.

Concluding that he took his own life, assistant coroner James Newman told Chesterfield Coroner’s Court: “Jim appears to have had some financial worries.

“Jim appears to have become fixated on Kerry and whether she would remain with him, but all the evidence suggests this was a misconceived worry.”

The inquest heard on the night of the tragedy Mr Wigley assaulted his wife which led to armed police being called to the farm because he kept licensed firearms there.

But as police arrived at the farm to arrest him, Mr Wigley turned the shotgun on himself and took his own life, the court heard.

Mr Newman said: “The overriding impression is that Jim just snapped that day. This was so out of character for Jim that nobody could have expected it to play out as it did.”

Mrs Wigley paid tribute to a “kind and honest man” who always put her first.