'Great dad' found dead by friend

PUBLISHED: 07:44 21 December 2012

Coroners Court

Coroners Court

Archant

A 'GREAT dad' shot himself as he struggled to cope with rising business debts and the death of his wife.

Father-of-two Nicolo Romano committed suicide after racking up ‘significant debts’ as he battled depression, an inquest was told.

He was found dead at his office on August 28 shortly after phoning his landlord and friend Trevor Small to say ‘sorry I’m going to leave a mess’.

His daughter Francesca paid tribute to her father through a statement read at the inquest.

She said: “He was a very proud person who kept his feelings to himself. He was a great dad and very supportive.”

Mr Romano, who was born in Sicily, took his own life as his company selling products to garden centres began to suffer.

The day before he died he called Mr Small to tell him he could no longer afford the rent for his business. He also asked for a loan of about £500 and for Mr Small to take care of his two daughters if anything ever happened to him.

Mr Small said: “Although this was an unusual thing to say, I didn’t think he was going to take his own life.”

The following afternoon Mr Romano phoned Mr Small again and apologised for what he was about to do.

Mr Small, who was away in Cornwall at the time, called his friend Charlie Preece, who found the Italian dead with a shotgun beside him at the barn in Grib Lane, Blagdon.

Mr Preece said in a statement he did not know that Mr Romano had any plans to kill himself.

He said: “I know he had some problems with money but there was never an indication that he was going to take his own life.”

Mr Romano, aged 55, lived with his two daughters in The Score, Blagdon, following his wife’s death.

And Mr Small said he did not think his friend ever got over the death of his wife.

Peter Harrowing, assistant deputy coroner at Flax Bourton Coroners Court, said Mr Romano ‘took his own life’.

He added: “Back in 2003-4, Mr Romano suffered a heart attack and his business declined at the time, and more recently his business has struggled.

“He was clearly troubled by the debts he had with his business and his wife died eight years before and he never really recovered from that.”

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