A FATHER found dead in his garage in Piddlehinton after a fire blamed himself for the break up of his marriage, an inquest was told.

Dean Michael Bradford, 45, of Church Cottages in Church Hill, told a doctor just days before his death that his wife of 20 years was leaving and he was having suicidal thoughts.

West Dorset deputy coroner Alan Horne read out a statement from Dr Adrian Clarke of Frampton Surgery, who saw Mr Bradford on August 27 last year, and prescribed him with anti-depressants and sleeping tablets.

The inquest held at County Hall in Dorchester heard his wife, Dawn Bradford, was away for the weekend with another man when firefighters and police discovered Mr Bradford’s body.

Fire investigator Alun Morgan of Dorset Fire and Rescue Service, who spoke at the inquest, said that a five-litre petrol can was found in the rear passenger compartment and that he believed the cause of the fire was ‘deliberate ignition’.

Detective Constable Timothy Lainsbury who attended the scene said he was informed that Mrs Bradford was away for the weekend with her new partner and the two children were in the house.

Dr Clarke described Mr Bradford as ‘extremely distressed’ on August 27 because his partner had decided to leave him.

He said: “He blamed himself for the difficulties in the relationship.

“He mentioned frequent thoughts of self-harm.

“Mr Bradford’s partner Dawn was planning to go away for the weekend and there was clearly tension between them.”

Mr Horne said the cause of death was unascertained and recorded an open verdict.