Black Country brewing champion Arthur Batham has died after shooting himself in his chest to escape the pain of living with cancer.
An inquest into the 82 year-old’s death heard that he took his own life on January 21 at the house he shared with his wife Dorothy in Wollaston, Stourbridge.
Mr Batham was managing director of Batham’s Brewery in Brierley Hill, a firm set up by his grandfather, in the 1880s.
Black Country coroner Robin Balmain heard that Mr Batham had shot himself with an old Colt US military handgun in the garage of his home in Bridgnorth Road.
Pathologist Dr Sixto Batitang, who carried out the post-mortem examination, said the brewer died of a gunshot wound, having been diagnosed with cancer of the tongue and neck last November.
By January the cancer had spread to his oesophagus and he had to have a gastric feeding tube inserted, Mr Balmain said.
Acting Sgt Craig Rolinson, based at Stourbridge police station, said Mr Batham had shot himself in the chest.
“There was one shell casing underneath a vehicle in the garage, and there were six further rounds still in the magazine of the handgun,” he said.
He believed the unlicensed gun had been kept, without the knowledge of his family, after he had spurned the chance to hand it in during a firearms amnesty.
“A number of officers were involved, including CID and firearms officers, but there was nothing to suggest there was any evidence of foul play,” Sgt Rolinson added.
Mr Balmain said Mr Batham told his wife that he had to go into the garage, and when he did not return she went to look for him and found his body.
Mr Batham’s son Matthew, a director of the brewery, said that although his father had been very ill, his death was “a massive shock”.
Ruling that Mr Batham killed himself, the coroner said: “It seems that he chose to take his own life presumably in preference to suffering from this very nasty disease.”