AN ELDERLY man was found dead at his Southampton home by his daughter after he shot himself in the head.

An inquest heard how "charming" and "principled" Frederick Osborne was found collapsed in his back garden, in Cranberry Avenue, on April 27, when his daughter, Jane James, went to collect him for a hospital appointment.

She told the hearing she'd last seen him the Friday before and that he looked grey.

"He wasn't happy that day," she said. "He wasn't himself. I knew he was low but I wish I realised just how low. I didn't think he was going to do anything like that."

Mrs James, of Kingston Road, Freemantle, said she knew something was awry when she entered the house, finding the lights on even though it was bright outside.

She said she went looking for him and only realised he was in the garden when she saw his overturned walker.

"I knew something was not right the minute I walked into the house," she added. "I could see out the window. I ran out and he was laid down and I could see all this blood."

The hearing was told Mr Osborne, 87, had been suffering with breathing difficulties for a long time and relied on oxygen tanks.

Mrs James said her father, who had become depressed following the death of his wife, was always anxious he would run out of oxygen.

"Somebody knocked the door and it was the oxygen man," she added. "He came through the house and he took a look and said 'you'd better call the police'.

"I didn't even see the gun. I thought he'd fallen over and cracked his head open. I knew he was dead but I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe he had done that."

In a statement written by medical staff at Alma Medical Centre, Mr Osborne was described as "charming" and "principled".

"His social isolation and conditions and the recent bereavement of his wife culminated in him taking his own life, unexpectedly," the statement read.

But Mrs James voiced her disappointment with his doctors for not having kept him on medication he'd responded well to and blamed the new medication for his "lowest point".

She confirmed a handwritten suicide note to the coroner, weeping slightly as she read it to herself.

"I'm just very annoyed with the doctor because they knew my dad quite well," she said.

Recording a verdict of suicide, senior coroner for south Hampshire, Grahame Short, said: "There is no doubt he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head. This was a deliberate act and he intended to end his life."