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'Russian Roulette' death an accident

File photo / Thinkstock
File photo / Thinkstock

The death of a Wairarapa man who shot himself in the head in front of his adult son while playing a form of "Russian Roulette'' was an accident, the coroner has ruled.

Anthony Robertson, 45, from Featherston, died on February 28, 2008 as a result of accidental gunshot wounds to the head, Coroner Ian Smith ruled in a decision released today.

Mr Robertson had been drinking beer with his son throughout the day and after the pair returned to his home he suggested they get out an old .38 pistol.

Mr Robertson then fired the gun into an old heater while his son revved up a car in his back yard in an effort to simulate a car back firing.

After firing the pistol he pulled out the bullet and placed it next to his ear joking that "I can still hear''.

He then pointed the pistol to the right side of his head and dry-fired it twice. It was not known if the gun was loaded.

Mr Robertson later asked his son to go and get some more beer.

Mr Ferris sighed, but before he could answer his father said "Well if you won't f**king go, then by the time I count to three then I'll go myself''.

Mr Ferris replied saying he would get the beer but after he answered his father reached three and pulled the trigger shooting himself in the head.

Mr Robertson slumped forward in his chair and fell to the floor.

His son then called his partner and told her his father had just shot himself.

He called 111 and the operator suggested he carry out CPR on his father, who was breathing but bleeding from his mouth.

Mr Ferris decided against CPR as he knew his father, a former drug user and on the methadone programme, was a hepatitis C carrier.

In his ruling Mr Smith said Mr Robertson was a person who seemed to have "lost his way in life'' but was trying to reconnect with his son and grandchildren at the time of his death.

He said he and his son had enjoyed each other's company on the day of his death and there was no evidence he wanted to commit suicide.

He expressed his condolences to Mr Robertson's friends and family.

- NZPA

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