A SOUTHAMPTON man who had his dog put to sleep took his own life the same afternoon – and wasn’t found for almost a month, an inquest heard.

Martin Cartwright, 76, of White’s Road, was found sitting in his white Ford Escort parked in his garage on May 12.

Winchester Coroner’s Court heard how, on his dashboard, Mr Cartwright had left a note which read: “D.O.D. (date of death) April 13, after 13.30 hours”.

He had died from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Senior coroner Grahame Short, who has been in the post for more than 20 years, said this was “one of the saddest cases I have ever come across”.

The court heard how, on April 13, Mr Cartwright had visited Vets4Pets on Spring Road.

He asked to have his 13-year-old Yorkshire Terrier Tilly put down as she had “multiple tumours”.

Elizabeth Stroud, a vet at the practice, told the court in a statement that the 76-year-old had come in without an appointment.

“Tilly seemed happy and lively,” said the vet.

“I asked why he wanted to put her to sleep and he said she had multiple tumours and ‘I am not going to be here very long’.

“At one point he almost decided to have her rehomed. However he did not think she would get along with anyone else.

“He continued to say ‘I am not going to be here very long’ and I was worried about Tilly’s welfare if left her with him.

“He paid the £110 fee [for the procedure] and she was put to sleep.”

She added: “He did not answer any questions when I pressed him about why he was putting her down.”

The court also heard from PC Paul Rode who said police were called to Mr Cartwright’s home after neighbours noted they had not seen him walk Tilly in a couple of days, which was unusual.

He added: “Neighbours said he lived a lonely life by himself, without any visitors.

“They brought to our attention that they had not seen their neighbour for some time.

“They usually see him walking his dog, but on their return from holiday, had not seen him.”

However, Pathologist Dr Adrian Bateman said he could not conclude a cause of death due to the decay of the 76-year-old’s body, but added the date left on the note (April 13) would “most definitely” coincide with the day of death.

Mr Short came to a verdict of death by suicide.

He said: “When he took Tilly to the vet and whilst she may have been an old dog, I do not think she had a terminal illness as he told the vet.

“I think it was part of a predetermined plan leading to his death.”

Mr Short added: “I have to say it is one of the saddest cases I have come across; he did not have anyone to talk to when he was feeling this way.”