A RETIRED car valeter shot himself in his garden after calling the police to warn them.

Edward Webb, from Didcot, died at his home on Green Road in the afternoon of February 3.

His death prompted a huge response from emergency services, which at the time described it as a 'fear for welfare' call-out.

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However details have now been revealed at an inquest opening at Oxford Coroners Court yesterday afternoon.

Darren Salter, the head coroner for Oxfordshire, said that the married 77-year-old had made a call to the police at 1.37pm to say that he was going to end his life.

Police cars raced to the scene, knowing that he had a firearm, and when they searched his house found Mr Webb behind the shed in his garden already dead.

A police officer confirmed the news at 2.55pm, more than an hour after Mr Webb's initial 999 call.

A post mortem report confirmed that the cause of death was from a shot gun injury to his head.

At the time Didcot residents said the area was on lockdown, and police and armed response vehicles remained at the house until the evening.

Residents had reported seeing a large number of police and ambulance cars heading to Green Close, which is just off the mini roundabout where Mereland Road meets Queensway.

Writing on Facebook, the Thames Valley Police South Oxon and White Horse team said: "A man has sadly died following a fear for welfare incident in Didcot earlier.

"His next of kin are aware and his death is not being treated as suspicious."

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The post was flooded with nearly 100 comments – some leaving heartfelt tributes for the 'kind and lovely' man.

Kerry Cook said: "One of the nicest kindest man I've met, always the first to ask how I am, most mornings our paths crossed whilst walking the dogs, treats in his pocket ready for them and a bag of carrots for the horses.

"You will be missed, RIP my friend."

Andrea Ralph added: "So very sorry to all the friends and family. RIP lovely man."

Another user said he was 'absolutely gutted', adding that Mr Webb was 'like a second dad' to him.

Fred Downes also paid a tribute: "RIP Eddie. One of the nicest persons you could meet."

Didcot residents have expressed their sympathy on Twitter and other social media, with dozens of ‘RIP’ messages in response to the police confirming the man's death.

Inquests are hearings set aside for unnatural deaths.

Mr Webb's death is an apparent suicide case, and so a full inquest has been scheduled at Oxford Coroners Court for May 13.

At the inquest the coroner is expected to answer four main questions: who the person is, how, when and where they came to their death.

If you've been affected by any of the issues in this article and need support, please contact the Samaritans on 116123.