Nelson ex-soldier was 'verging on alcoholism' over inquiry fear

AN EX-SOLDIER who hanged himself was ‘verging on alcoholism’ because he was worried about his military past, an inquest heard.

Peter Louis Valentine, a former Corporal in the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment, began drinking heavily after he was contacted about a potential inquiry into an Army incident in Belfast in 1972.

Mr Valentine, 60, was discovered dead by a friend on September 22 after a night out in Colne.

East Lancashire Coroner Richard Taylor heard how Mr Valentine, who lived with his cousin, Bernard, in Walverden Crescent, Nelson, was a ‘fun-loving, friendly’ person who had been on several tours of Northern Ireland.

After leaving the forces, Mr Valentine, known as Pedro, worked in the building trade as a roofer and was a regular in the Duke of Lancaster pub, formerly the Shepherds Arms, Albert Road, Colne.

In a statement, Bernard Valentine’s wife Ann said: “He enjoyed a drink but nothing out of the ordinary. A pending court case and inquiries into the Army rested heavily on his mind and he drank more heavily.

“He was verging on alcoholism but still functional.”

She said he went out on September 21 as his ‘normal self’ and told friends he would ‘see them later’ but was discovered dead at home the next morning.

Bernard Valentine said: “It all became too much for him. I can’t comprehend it still. You never expected that from Pedro.”

He added that his cousin had been involved in a fatal shoot-out with terrorists in Belfast and had received letters and phone calls about the possibility of an inquiry into the incident.

A statement from Julie Evans, a consultant forensic toxicologist, said that the amount of alcohol in Mr Valentine’s blood was three times the legal limit for driving.

Mr Taylor said letters and a phone message had been recovered which indicated Mr Valentine had intended to commit suicide.

Concluding that Mr Val-entine had taken his own life, Mr Taylor said: “The intent is clear in his letters. It appears he spent considerable time planning it.”

Earlier this month, a plaque was erected in his memory in the Duke of Lancaster pub.

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