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Open verdict recorded into the death of Charles Harbord
5:19pm Wednesday 12th September 2012 in Local News
A FATHER found with self-inflicted shotgun wounds at his Dorset home ‘did not wish to grow old’, an inquest has heard.
The hearing at County Hall in Dorchester this afternoon was told that 68-year-old Charles Francis Harbord was found dead by his cleaner on May 22.
Mr Harbord’s daughter Astrid is believed to be a close friend of Prince Harry.
Coroner for West Dorset Michael Johnston said Mr Harbord, who worked as a publisher, had been alone at the home he shared with his wife at Wyke Hall, Gillingham.
He said: “His wife went out and returned at the same time as the cleaner arrived. They entered the house together and the cleaner went off to start work, and she found Mr Harbord lying in one of the upstairs rooms.”
The cleaner began an attempt to resuscitate Mr Harbord, but in doing so found a shotgun underneath his body, the inquest heard.
Detective Constable Peter Grey of Weymouth CID gave evidence that he believed a fire extinguisher bracket had been used to pull the trigger of the shotgun.
In a statement, Mr Harbord’s wife Sarah said she had not known anything was wrong.
She said: “I can honestly say I think he was tired and did not want to grow old.”
Mr Johnston recorded an open verdict. He said: “Clearly arrangements were made and this was self-inflicted.
“What he has not done is leave any indication of what he intended to do.
“I offer my deepest sympathies to his family.”