A MAN shot himself after the breakdown of a long-term relationship, an inquest heard.

Christopher Noyce, from Rownhams, was discovered dead by his partner Rebecca Higgins in their bedroom on the evening of April 25 after they had discussed their future together.

Winchester Coroner's Court heard that the two of them had been a couple for more than a decade, living in a home in Jeffries Close that they had bought together three years ago, but Ms Higgins felt the relationship was coming to an end.

Following the discussion, Mr Noyce, an IT technician, left to be alone in the bedroom. Concerned, Ms Higgins went to check on him when she found him with his rifle.

After talking, Ms Higgins believed that he wasn't going to hurt himself and left to buy some food in Romsey for their dinner, but upon her return she discovered Mr Noyce's body and called for an ambulance.

Mr Noyce had a licence for the gun and was a member of a shooting club.

However, the inquest heard that this was not the first time Mr Noyce had caused his partner concern about what he might do to himself.

In a police statement Ms Higgins said that in January, following another discussion about the future of their relationship, she found Mr Noyce in the bedroom holding his rifle.

After speaking, they decided they would try to work on staying together.

Ms Higgins said: "Our relationship became difficult and strained... Christopher constantly put an expectation on me to care for him. I just wanted Christopher to contribute more to home life.

"I didn't want to hurt Christopher but deep down I wanted to move out."

Speaking about when she first walked in on Mr Noyce holding the gun on April 25, she added: "I believed that Christopher had decided not to shoot himself."

A letter from Mr Noyce's GP confirmed that he had never been treated for mental health issues, and when asked if he had problems with his mental health, his mother Jennifer Noyce said: "No, not at all."

Pathologist Dr Adnan Al-Badri confirmed that he died as a result of head injuries from a single gunshot.

Recording a conclusion of suicide, senior coroner Grahame Short said: "Christopher did not confide in anyone else at the time and I believe that was factor in what later happened.

"Christopher left no note, nor message, explaining his actions but I do believe there is little doubt it was the breakdown of the relationship that led to the decision.

"Sadly, he did not seek help despite the opportunities."