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She shot herself with dad's gun; Hotel worker smuggled pistol into country WALES.


A HOTEL worker in a stormy relationship shot herself with a Luger pistol at a North Wales beauty spot.

Stephanie Hillecke, 25, had told her boyfriend her father had given her the 9mm pistol on a return visit home, for "protection" when she travelled between the UK and Germany.

But a Wrexham inquest heard yesterday she had taken the gun probably without his approval and smuggled it back into Britain.

Her body was found slumped in her car on January 30, at the Panorama in Blackwood Road, Garth, near Llangollen, by a man walking his dogs.

Home Office pathologist Dr Brian Rodgers said she had died of a gunshot wound to the mouth. There were small amounts of alcohol and cannabis detected in her blood.

Her mother, Gabriella Hillecke, of Combe Down, Bath, had been working in Britain in the hotel industry for a number of years when Stephanie joined her in 2006.

Mrs Hillecke told the inquest she was working in the Carden Park Hotel and was able to get Stephanie a job as a bar assistant, living in at the hotel. She was eventually dismissed for bad time keeping.

She had started a relationship with Daniel Coggins, of Penybryn, Penycae, and at times was living with him in a static caravan parked at his parents' farm.

In a statement, Mr Coggins said: "Stephaniewas into smoking cannabis in a big way. She was smoking one after another and sometimes using amphetamines."

He had urged her to give them up.

When she lost her job at Carden Park, she would sit around in the caravan while he was at work and did very little, which led to frequent arguments between them.

Ilona Kutshback, a German national who works as a head receptionist in a Wrexham hotel, was a friend of Stephanie's and she said Daniel was sometimes "aggressive" towards Stephanie, although he was not violent.

She said Stephanie had told her they shouted and argued a lot.

On January 29, Mr Coggins said he left early for work but when he got home found a note and became worried about Stephanie. He rang her mother to try to find her and said he thought she was "going to do something stupid".

North East Wales coroner JohnHughes said Peter Ryan, of Penycae was walking his dogs when he passed Stephanie's car and assumed she was asleep.

On his return he noticed her in the same position and opened the door and prodded her and told her to wake up.

There were three photographs on the dashboard, one a photograph of Daniel.

When she did not wake up he telephoned the police. They found the Luger near the gearstick and ammunition in the car.

Mr Hughes, recording a verdict of suicide, said: "It is clear she was in a relationship with Daniel for a considerable time and at times it was a stormy relationship.

"She was in possession of her father's pistol, whether taken with his consent or without is not our concern.

"In reality, perhaps we will never know the ins and outs of this but clearly she was sufficiently unhappy and depressed to take her own life."


Police seal off an area at the Panorama in Garth, near Llangollen, after the discovery of German hotel worker Stephanie Hillecke's body in a car. (Inset) A Luger pistol similar to the one Stephanie used
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 5, 2008
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