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Inquest hears how man struggled after loss of his mother and family home

A coroner has said nothing could have been done for a man who struggled to carry on after losing ‘the two things he missed most’.

An inquest at Reading Coroner’s Court on Tuesday heard how Nicholas Rance, known as Nicky, was found hanged at his home in Groves Way, Cookham, on Monday, June 3.

The inquest heard the 58-year-old, who was well known in the area as a knowledgeable lover of wildlife and nature who would walk for hours every day, had previously lived at the home he grew up in, with his mother and grandparents in Maidenhead.

Coroner Ian Wade read a statement by Tina Rance, Nicky’s cousin, and the person closest to him.

It explained that in January 2012 – six weeks after her parents died – Nicky’s mother Daphne also passed away.

Her statement read: “Not only was this devastating for him, it led him to leaving the only home he ever knew.”

Tina, who was present at the inquest, described Nicky in her statement as a ‘complicated, gentle, sensitive person’ who lived quite a solitary life.

She said he would talk to her openly about his struggle to come to terms with the loss of his mother.

She said Nicky described to her being ‘wrapped in a black cloak he was unable to take off’.

The statement read: “He felt no amount of support or medication could bring back the two things he missed most – his mum and his home.”

The inquest heard that, leading up to his death, Nicky’s family felt it was clear that he was hoarding and it was out of control.

He had also fallen into arrears, the inquest heard.

In the statement, Tina said: “We don’t feel this is the only reason he took his own life, but it is a contributing factor.”

A statement from David Rance, another of Nicky’s cousins who found Nicky’s body, was also read out.

He said he became reclusive after his mother’s death and wouldn’t let family into his home and would arrange to meet at family occasions instead.

The inquest heard Tina had tried to contact Nicky for a few days in June but had not heard from him. She contacted David, who discovered Nicky’s body when he went round to check on him.

At Nicky’s home a letter was found addressed to Tina, which the coroner described as ‘a note full of sincere and strongly felt emotion’.

“Nicky kept his demons to himself by and large,” said the coroner.

“He effectively said nothing to anyone and effectively barricaded himself into his home.”

Mr Wade concluded that Nicky was a man ‘completely overwhelmed by the death of those close to him’.

He said that despite Nicky being surrounded by a large and loving family, ‘there was nothing that could have been done’.

The coroner concluded he died by suicide.

After the inquest Tina said: “Nicky had struggled emotionally since the loss of his mother and the family home.

“Despite the support of close family and friends this was a loss he was never able to fully come to terms with.

“Life no longer brought him any happiness or purpose and sadly he decided to end the life that brought him so much emotional pain.”

For anyone who needs someone to talk to, call the Samaritan helpline on 116 123, email or go to



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