Stroud busker found dead a month after his wife passed away

First published in News by

A busker who cycled all over Gloucestershire and further afield to play in the streets of towns and villages died just a month after his wife had passed away, an inquest heard.

Barrie Newth played his harmonica all over the county for many years and loved entertaining people, an inquest at Gloucestershire Coroners Court was told.

His decomposed body was found at his home in Cotswold Close, Brimscombe, Stroud, on June 14 last year and had to be identified by a DNA test.

Gloucestershire Deputy Coroner David Dooley was told Mr Newth’s wife Hazel had died only a month before him.

Pc Victoria Goodwin was called to the house and found all the windows and doors secure.

When entry was forced, Mr Newth’s body was found on the floor in an upstairs bedroom and there was nothing suspicious surrounding the death, said Pc Goodwin.

The dead man’s GP Dr Andy Simpson said he was 66, and suffered from chronic anxiety that focussed on a bowel problem.

"But he only suffered from depression once in 2010, and said he had had suicidal thoughts," he said.

"He loved busking and entertaining people but he had to give it up for a while after a possible epileptic fit. He had tests at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital but they found no problem.

"His anxiety was increased when his wife was diagnosed with cancer in late 2011. She died in May 2012.

"I gave him bereavement counselling and spoke to him again two weeks later. His mood seemed to be normal."

A post mortem was carried out by consultant pathologist Dr Preti Joshi who said the procedure was hampered by the decomposed state of the body but she found no injuries.

She did find that all three of the major arteries to the heart were significantly narrowed but was unable to assess whether Mr Newth had suffered a heart attack.

One might have occurred due to the artery disease, she said, but she was not able to give a definitive cause of death and left it as unascertained.

Summing up, Mr Dooley said Mr Newth had had a history of depression but his mood had improved until the death of his wife, which must have been an important factor.

"She only died the previous month and he was not coping well without her," he went on.

"There is no evidence to support suicide and therefore death from natural causes is possible.

"What is most likely to have occurred? There is evidence of narrowing of the coronary arteries and that is one explanation for death.

"He was found face down on the bedroom floor and this suggests he might have had a sudden collapse.

"It appears that he died from a natural disease process that ran its full course."

Verdict: natural causes.

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