AN OVERTON man described by his family as a “pillar of the community” took his own life because he did not want to suffer in the same way as his wife, an inquest has heard.

Alan Douglas, 75, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in August and was given six months to live by his doctor.

However, after seeing his wife Leslie suffer before she passed away in 2004, Mr Douglas decided that he was “going to go out on his terms”.

The court heard on Tuesday morning how Mr Douglas, described as witty, genuine and respectful, had taken the diagnosis of the terminal condition “in his stride”, according to his neighbour and close friend Alan Goode.

Mr Goode also said in a statement, read out by Senior Coroner Christopher Wilkinson, that Mr Douglas’s health had declined in the days before his death, on October 28, 2019, saying that whilst the former engineer was washing his car, he noticed that he wasn’t well.

Recording a conclusion of suicide, Mr Wilkinson said: “On balance, it does appear that that was an act he had undertaken.”

“What I know is that in August 2019, Alan had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and carried on independently,” he continued. “It is clear on the evidence that he was experiencing a lot of pain and discomfort.

“He wasn’t prepared to accept that after having been through the extremely distressing time having to nurse his wife.

“He was resilient and capable right up until the end.

“He made the decision that he would do things on his terms.

“He ended a life which was very full, he enjoyed many years of marriage and a happy and healthy life.

“I am satisfied on the evidence that there are no suspicious circumstances and no third party involvement.

“I have no other option than to reach a conclusion that it is more likely than not that Alan Douglas took his own life and the one I have to return is one of suicide.

“I am going to accompany that with a short statement of the facts.”

Mr Douglas was “loved by everyone”, according to his family. Just days before his death, he travelled to Salisbury to make a donation to charity, with his family saying that this was presumably because he knew that he was going to take his own life soon.

He was a member of Hart Wildlife Trust, and “loved” living in the Hampshire countryside.

As well as being interested in wildlife and enjoying walking, Mr Douglas loved cars and even wrote an adventure book, in the style of the Famous Five, based on children that lived on his street.

His sister, Carole, told the coroner: “We knew he would end his life but it was a shock that it was so soon. He wouldn’t have anyone in to dress him or anything. He was active and enjoyed doing what he did.”