A FARMER was given back the keys to his gun cabinet by police hours before he died from a shotgun wound, a York inquest heard.

Glen Brough left a series of voice messages on the phone of his partner of 17 years, Stephanie Neathway, and repeatedly tried to phone her the evening and night before he died, said Detective Sergeant Fiona McEwan.

Reading aloud the message he left at 6.53pm on August 27, 2016, the officer quoted: “‘I suggest you get round here. This is the first’ ... I could hear a gunshot ... ‘and the second is going in my mouth’.”

Firearms police officer Graham Redhead said he found Mr Brough’s lifeless body next to a shotgun with a discharged cartridge, on the afternoon of August 28, in long grass by New Road, Escrick.

In a written statement, Ms Neathway’s mother, Mary Sullivan, said Mr Brough had rung her upset and crying on the evening of August 27, following the break-up of his relationship with her daughter.

He had told her: “I am really sorry for what I am going to put you through.”

“I just thought, he is going to do something stupid,” said Ms Sullivan in the statement, adding that she had then phoned police about him.

Coroner Rob Turnbull told the jury police responded by visiting Mr Brough that evening and taking away the keys to his gun cabinet.

But the next morning at 9.45am he had gone to Selby Police Station and had been given the keys back.

In her statement, Ms Neathway said she returned from a horse ride to be told by a friend, Gwyneth Jackson, that Mr Brough had left his phone with a message for her, and his car keys, at the stable and that he would be “waiting at the top of the lane".

“I was petrified and broke down in tears,” she said. “I am aware when Glen was 16... he deliberately drove into the side of a bridge causing serious injury.”

She said she phoned police and told them her fears for him.

She also said she had been at a restaurant with work colleagues on the evening of August 27.

Early on August 28, she had told Mr Brough via the Facebook app Messenger he could function without her and urged him to get a grip on himself, do one of his hobbies and stop “sitting there wallowing”.

The inquest at Innovation Centre, the University of York, heard police launched a search for Mr Brough following Ms Neathway’s call. It also heard medical evidence that Mr Brough had died from a shot to the head and had not been under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Mr Brough, 36, of North Duffield near Selby, came from a Thirsk family and had worked on several farms.

His sister, Lyn Hickman, said he had held a firearms’ licence for several years and had always wanted to be a farmer. In his opening remarks the coroner told the jury: “Nobody is on trial here. There is no question of attributing blame.”

Their task was to establish the facts surrounding Mr Brough’s death. The issues they would have to decide on included the police response to Mrs Sullivan’s concerns and whether it had been appropriate to return Mr Brough’s gun cabinet keys. They would also have to decide whether he took his own life and whether he intended to do so.

Det Sgt McEwan told the inquest she found no evidence that anyone else had caused the death.

The inquest continues.