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20 January 2006
Man's suicide near prehistoric site

A man shot himself in the head at the site where he had made 'significant discoveries' as an amateur archaeologist, an inquest has heard. Derek Upton's body was found on the shores of the River Severn (Wales) in November, six weeks after he went missing. During his life, the retired steelworker from Caldicot had found Stone Age human footprints and Bronze Age settlements near where he died. Newport Coroner's Court heard how Mr Upton had been suffering from paranoia and hallucinations in the months before he disappeared. He had been taking pain killers which he believed were causing the hallucinations.
     The court heard how Mr Upton, who had been awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the University of Wales College, Newport for his archaeological work in and around the Severn Estuary, was reported missing on the 25 September. Air and ground searches were launched after it emerged that a shotgun was also missing.
Police discovered his car parked on the foreshore of the River Severn between Magor and Rogiet near Newport. Nearly two weeks later, his gun was found on mud flats near Rogiet. A month after the discovery of the gun, Mr Upton's body was found washed up on a river bank nearby.

Source: BBC News (19 January 2006)

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