Stuart Trousdale inquest: Coroner rules Yorkshire huntsman took his own life

An inquest into the death of a Yorkshire huntsman has concluded that he took his own life with a licensed firearm.
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Stuart Edward Trousdale, 50, was found with a gunshot wound to the face in his three-bedroom flat in Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders, the town where he had lived for around 12 years.

The Scarborough-born countryman grew up in the village of Wykeham on the edge of the North York Moors, and attended Lady Lumley's School and Askham Bryan College before taking up a number of positions with hunts around the UK, including as a kennelman on the Isle of Wight and a joint master of the Jedforest Hunt.

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At the time of his death he was no longer working for the local hunt and was a self-employed agricultural engineer running a business called Jedforest Farm Services.

Stuart Trousdale pictured in 2004Stuart Trousdale pictured in 2004
Stuart Trousdale pictured in 2004

He had been separated from his wife Zoe, a property developer, for around six years, but maintained regular contact with her and their two children, Luke and Ellie.

The inquest was held at North Yorkshire Coroner's Court in Northallerton after Mr Trousdale's body was repatriated to his home county.

Assistant coroner Richard Watson read out evidence from Police Scotland regarding Mr Trousdale's history of 'low mood' and previous threats to shoot himself, though he was not known to local mental health services.

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He was a certified holder of a number of shotguns used for pest control, including a handgun adapted to dispatch sick livestock which he used to end his life.

The police investigation found that Zoe Trousdale visited her estranged husband in August 2021 and told him she wished to cease contact with him due to a pattern of behaviour that involved threats to harm himself, which family members considered to be 'emotional blackmail'.

He had been diagnosed with a depressive disorder in 2006 and was described as a 'functioning alcoholic', though after Covid he had been sober for around a year.

His body was found by his son Luke and a friend on September 28, though police believe he died overnight between September 21-22. There were no suspicious circumstances, his firearms were all accounted for and there was no sign of alcohol abuse or disorder in the flat.

Mr Watson recorded a conclusion of suicide.

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A celebration of Mr Trousdale's life was held at The Downe Arms Hotel in Wykeham, with a collection in aid of Help for Heroes.

Anyone struggling with mental health worries can contact the Samaritans' free, confidential helpline on 116 123.