Farmer killed himself fearing fraud charges - inquest

A Gloucestershire dairy farmer killed himself because he feared he would go to prison for fraud, an inquest heard.

John Round, 44, was being investigated over allegations he had switched cattle ear tags to send less productive cows to slaughter instead of cows with TB.

He was found pinned to a wall by an electric-powered fork lift truck at his farm at Elmore Back on 19 April.

The inquest in Cheltenham heard he had overridden the safety cut-out mechanism and died instantly.

A statement from Sophie Round was read to the inquest in which she said that a number of farm visits from trading standards had caused her husband "great concern".

"I am aware that John had legal advice and was assured there was no evidence against him but nevertheless he continued to worry about it, particularly the risk of harm to our business," she added.

"After asking him what was likely to happen and what the worst case scenario was, he said that a prison sentence was one possibility."

'Safety mantra'

Mrs Round said that her husband had been told by supplier Dairy Crest that they were stopping his milk entering the food chain because he may have been supplying TB-infected milk.

He had become increasingly depressed because of fears he would lose his 800-strong herd, his farm, and his good name.

David Dooley, deputy coroner for Gloucestershire, recorded a verdict of suicide.

He concluded: "Everything found at the scene immediately after the incident went contrary to his own safety mantra and how he normally ran his business."

In 2005 Mr Round was one of the top dairy farmers in the country having won the Association of British Dairy Farmers gold cup.

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