'Well loved' Derbyshire financial director, who raised £1m for charity, died after 'shooting himself', inquest hears

A 'well loved' finance director, who raised more than £1million for charity, died after shooting himself, an inquest heard.

Tuesday, 9th April 2019, 5:18 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th April 2019, 5:24 pm
James Bedingfield pictured in 2011 after a London to Paris cycle ride. Mr Bedingfield went on to raise 1million for charity.
James Bedingfield pictured in 2011 after a London to Paris cycle ride. Mr Bedingfield went on to raise 1million for charity.

Andrew James Bedingfield, 45, a dad to two children aged nine and ten, was found on a bench in a wooded area in Dronfield on November 16, 2018.

The senior investment director at Investec in Sheffield, known as 'James' to friends, had become stressed over an alleged error he had made at work and was worried that it would damage his reputation, an inquest in Chesterfield heard today.

Mr Bedingfield, of High Street, Dronfield, was said to be a professional and dedicated worker who looked after client accounts worth £425million.

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He feared that he would lose his job - but this would not have happened.

At one point Mr Bedingfield thought he was being spied on by his employers who were investigating the alleged matter - but this was not the case.

A post mortem concluded Mr Bedingfield died as a result of a gun shot injury.

His partner of 12 years, Andrea Owenova, said in a statement: "He had done lots of charity work and had raised around £1million for various causes."

On the investigation into the alleged work error, Andrea added: "He was worried what other people would think of him. At times he was crying and shaking which was not like Andrew at all."

'Charity champion'

The court heard that Mr Bedingfield was a highly dedicated worker and 'straight talking'.

He had no mental health or financial problems.

He was a kind and caring man who had raised a £1million for various good causes and enjoyed cycling and cricket.

He was a licensed gun owner and enjoyed clay pigeon shooting.

'Stressed'

In the run up to his death, Mr Bedingfield had become stressed and worried over a matter at Investec which he was being investigated.

The matter related to some paperwork which had he had allegedly sent out to a client which he should not have done so without approval.

He had also allegedly been using his personal phone instead of his work phone for matters relating to Investec, which is against company policy.

The alleged error was not particularly serious, but it needed investigating, the inquest heard.

At one point Mr Bedingfield became suspicious that he was being spied on at work when computers were upgraded. However, this had been planned some time before.

His work bonus had been deferred until the matter had been concluded, which was set to take a few weeks.

As a result of the ongoing investigation, Mr Bedingfield had problems sleeping and went to his GP to get some medication to help him.

Although Mr Bedingfield was being investigated over the matter, in a statement read out at the inquest, Matthew Beddall, a director in charge of the Sheffield Investec office, said: "He would not have lost his job in terms of the review at work."

November 16, 2018

On the day of his death, Mr Bedingfield took his gun from his home and got a taxi close to a wooded area in Dronfield.

The taxi driver, Mustaq Anwar, of Network Taxis, based in Meadowhead, Sheffield, said in a statement: "He seemed unusually quiet. I did not think anything of it."

In the mean time Andrea arrived back home and saw the gun was missing as well as her partner.

Mr Bedingfield sent a text to his mum saying 'sorry' and 'thank you for a lovely life'.

Letters left behind my Mr Bedingfield were found at his home.

Mr Bedingfield also made calls to the police and ambulance service.

'Well loved'

Police Constable, Michael Maughan, said: "I believe that it was a cry for help and that he may not have wanted to go through with it."

PC Maughan added: "He was very well loved."

When police were informed that Mr Bedingfield was armed, officers had to wait for firearms teams to arrive before proceeding into the woods.

The inquest was adjourned at this point by coroner Peter Nieto because Mr Bedingfield's family had questions regarding the police's response to the incident which PC Maughan was not in a position to answer as this was not his department.

More information will also be requested from Investec.

"Clearly without this information we do not have all the answers," Mr Nieto added.

Mr Nieto will give his conclusion when the inquest resumes.