An aristocrat’s son committed suicide at his father’s Worcestershire farm after suffering depression following a minor operation, a coroner has ruled.
James Wentworth-Stanley, whose mother is the Marchioness of Milford Haven, shot himself at his father’s farm, near Broadway, in December last year.
Stourport Coroner’s Court heard that the 21-year-old had no history of mental illness, but had suffered severe anxiety and depression following an unspecified minor operation.
Two days before his death, James visited a walk-in centre at a hospital in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, where he was a student, complaining of depression and suicidal thoughts. On December 15, the former Harrow School pupil drove to the farm where his father lives with his second wife after a day’s shooting in Hampshire.
At about 9pm a loud bang was heard and James was found lying on the floor with his shotgun beside him. A post-mortem examination gave the cause of death as a shotgun wound to the head and blood tests revealed no alcohol or drugs in his system.
After the inquest, his parents Nick Wentworth-Stanley and Clare Milford Haven - who is a close friend of the Duchess of York - released a statement expressing their sadness at his death.
They said: "James was a hugely popular young man with boundless energy and a love of life.
"He had no history of depression, nor any other form of mental illness, but in the immediate aftermath of a minor and routine operation he suffered a serious psychological reaction which tragically led him to take his own life.
"As James’ parents it is our sincere hope that, if anything at all positive from this tragedy, it should be that awareness is raised of the shocking fact that suicide is now the greatest cause of death among young men aged 15-35."
Recording a verdict of suicide, coroner Victor Round said that James appeared to have been a "fit young man" until his operation, but the circumstances of his death made it clear he had taken his own life.