A WELL-KNOWN vet took his own life at a secluded Hampshire beauty spot.

John Lafferty was found dead by members of the public in a wooded area in the New Forest The 61-year-old’s car was found nearby at the Broomy Enclosure, in Fordingbridge where he had left a note, an inquest heard.

The inquest also heard how police initially treated Mr Lafferty’s death as suspicious when they attended the scene at around 1pm on December 15 last year.

But they dropped this theory after they found an envelope addressed to ‘Pamela’ on the back seat of his car.

It told of his love for his family and made it clear what he intended to do.

Mr Lafferty, of Stony Lane, Christchurch, worked at the Magnolia House Veterinary Clinic in Christchurch for 34 years before his death.

The inquest heard Mr Lafferty had longstanding medical issues dealing with his problems with swallowing.

Enquiries following his death revealed he had recently spent time in hospital and had suffered for many years from a condition affecting his oesophagus, for which he had had several operations.

Family told police that Mr Lafferty had in the past said he refused to go on living in this way, the inquest heard.

‘Bravely borne’ Toxicology reports revealed Mr Lafferty had not consumed any alcohol and although he had a number of different medications in his system, they were all recorded at therapeutic levels.

Southampton coroner Keith Wiseman said: “His medical history was really horrifically difficult for someone of his age – he must have worked through many years of ill health.

“He clearly felt it was too much to keep up.”

Coroner Wiseman recorded a determination that Mr Lafferty took his own life.

At the time of his death, his widow said he had “bravely borne” his long illness and was a loving husband, devoted father to children Andrew, Mark, Rory and Becky and a doting grandfather to Flick.

She added: “He will be sadly missed by his family, friends, staff and clients.

“His wishes were that his practice should continue, as always, with the love and dedication that he showed to all of the animals which were under his care for the past 34 years.”