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Pensioner shot wife, 74; INQUEST: Man told police to order coffins before killing.

Byline: SUE GODDARD

A PENSIONER phoned the police and told them to order two coffins and an undertaker, then shot his wife before turning a shotgun on himself, an inquest heard.

Police later discovered the bodies of Robert and Vera Stirling lying side by side on a bed in their Mid Wales home with the shotgun at 75-year-old Mr Stirling's side.

Detective Constable Gareth Owen yesterday told the inquest at Llandrindod Wells that Inspector Robert Price took a 999 call at about 1.40am on Sunday, June 17.

The caller identified himself as Mr Stirling and gave his address as Clatterbrune House, Greenfield Road, Presteigne.

"He stated that there was a slight problem and that two coffins and an undertaker were needed, then ended the call, " said Det Con Owen.

Mr Stirling's voice had appeared "calm and rational."

The reason for Mr Stirling's actions became clear when family members received tape recordings from him in the post several days later.

Two of his children, Ian Stirling and Lynn Stamford, received taped messages on the Tuesday in which he explained that he and his 74-year-old wife had been experiencing matrimonial difficulties.

"Mr Stirling harboured a certain amount of mistrust, " Det Con Owen said. "It would appear that he had made a conscious decision to carry out the act that he finally did."

Powys Coroner John Hollis said the cause of death in both cases was a gunshot wound to the head.

He recorded a verdict of unlawful killing on Mrs Stirling and suicide on Mr Stirling.
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Sep 26, 2001
Words:255
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