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Royal Navy engineer found dead after losing £375,000 dream home in row over a fence

NewsRoyal Navy engineer found dead after losing £375,000 dream home in row over a fence

A decorated Royal Navy engineer killed himself after losing his dream home. An inquest has heard how Petty Officer Rob Minshull, 42, committed suicide in October 2022 because he could not get past losing his “dream home” after he complained about the height of a fence.

Mr Minshull, who served in Afghanistan, was reportedly furious after a £375,000 property in Cornwall was taken off the market when he questioned its four-foot fence, which was two feet lower than other homes on the development.

Mr Minshull and his wife Kerry made a complaint after realising the low fence could allow people shopping at a nearby Tesco in Helston to see their two young daughters playing in their paddling pool in the garden.

Within days, the developer had refused to sell them the property, and withdrew it from the market, only to put it back on sale for £75,000 more than the original asking price.

Mrs Minshull said the impact of this decision on Mr Minshull was immense.

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Mrs Minshull told the coroner Emma Hillson: “This had a huge effect on Rob. He started drinking more and he could not get past the way we lost the house.”

By the time the couple had lost the house they had spent around £10,000 on legal fees, legal costs, and personalised furniture for their new home.

The collapse of the sale in 2021 also reportedly caused Mr Minshull to enter into a depression spiral. As well as drinking more, Mr Minshull also lost his sleep and his appetite.

The inquest heard this wasn’t the first time Mr Minshull had suffered from poor mental health and that he had been suffering with other stresses.

Mr Minshull was reportedly concerned about his children, mortgage rates, and the cost of living crisis.

In the past he had been prescribed anti-depressants by Navy doctors but had feared – wrongly – that he would be medically discharged from the senior service so he stopped taking them.

He was allowed back to his job working on aircraft engineering. Captain Stuart Irwin, Commanding Officer of the Royal Navy Air Station at Culdrose, Cornwall, told the inquest an investigation was held.

Captain Irwin said close friends and colleagues in Mr Minshull’s small unit did not see any change in his behaviour and were all shocked by his death. He said neither of Mr Minshull’s comrades “saw it coming”.

The inquest heard that Mr Minshull had told his wife about his previous suicide attempts and that on the night he died, he told Mrs Minshull he loved her. At 4 am, she woke and found Mr Minshull had hung himself in the garage.

Speaking in 2021, Mrs Minshull said her husband’s loss had “just broken my family completely” and added that she would “never wish this to happen to anybody”.

The assistant coroner Emma Hillson recorded a verdict of suicide.

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