A former Royal Marine hanged himself the day after having his beloved pet dog put down.
Steven Anderson, 44, was overcome with grief after apparently deciding his beloved collie Beaky had become too aggressive, an inquest heard.
The lorry driver was found hanging from a tree suspended by the dog’s lead, with Beaky’s body in a suitcase nearby.
He left a note in his house which read: ‘I have gone to be with Beaky.’
Former Royal Marine Stephen Anderson with his beloved Beaky. The 44-year-old lorry driver was grief-stricken after he had the collie put down as it had became too aggressive. His suicide note read 'I've gone to be with Beaky.'
After the inquest, Mr Anderson's adoptive father said: 'The dog was his life. It was like the son he never had.'
After the hearing in Rotherham, Mr Anderson’s adoptive father, Michael Gawthrop, said: ‘The dog was his life. It was like the son he never had.
‘He just felt that as Beaky got older the dog had become more aggressive and he was worried it might attack people.’
Veterinary nurse Liam Johnson said Mr Anderson, who changed his name by deed poll, brought the collie in to be put down. He came with a large suitcase for the dog’s body which he thought was unusual as most pet owners took their animals home in a blanket.
Mr Johnson said he asked the owner why he wanted the dog put down. He said: ‘He told me he was going to Scotland to work and the dog couldn’t be re-homed because it was nasty with kids.
‘He was very upset and was very sincere in explaining the reasons for putting the dog asleep. There was no reason to doubt him.’ Mr Anderson’s former partner, Dawn Daily, a civil servant, said they had been together for seven years but split up in March 2006.
They bought the dog together but Mr Anderson kept Beaky.
The couple stayed friends but drifted apart because of his drinking. In late December 2010, he sent a text message saying he was going to have Beaky put down.
‘I thought this was to get a reaction from me but I ignored it,’ Miss Daily said. He later texted to say the dog had been put down and she replied: ‘I hope you are proud of yourself.’
He texted back: ‘My sorrow is as deep as yours. I’m moving south tomorrow and starting a new life.’ The next day, on January 5, golfer Clifford Slater found Mr Anderson’s body hanging from a tree near the 12th hole at Sitwell Park Golf Club, near Rotherham.
There was a pair of stepladders, a baseball bat and the suitcase containing Beaky nearby.
Papers relating to the visit to the vet’s were found at Mr Anderson’s home in Whiston, Rotherham.
PC James Tongue told the inquest he found the home ‘almost empty’ with no furniture and household items boxed up. Mr Anderson’s bank account had been closed and a note indicated he wanted to donate his body for medical research at Sheffield University.
The coroner recorded a verdict of suicide.