Retired police inspector not considered 'right man' for his partner, inquest into double shooting hears

This Is Wiltshire: Bill Dowling Bill Dowling

A retired police inspector who was found dead with his ex-girlfriend in Devizes was not considered 'the right man' for her, an inquest heard today.

Bill Dowling, 59, and Victoria Rose, 58, who had both suffered gunshot wounds, were found in the porch of his home on the Moonrakers estate in Devizes on March 2, 2013.

Salisbury Coroner's Court heard that Mr Dowling had suffered a sudden decline in his mental health in the three weeks leading up to the incident.

Mr Dowling, a keen shooter, was struggling to cope with the grief of losing his mother in 2011 as the second anniversary of her death approached, the inquest heard.

Concerns had also been raised about Mr Dowling's performance as one of the "highest paid" civil servants working in the Ministry of Defence in Upavon.

The relationship between Mr Dowling and Mrs Rose, a divorcee from Devizes, had broken down several months before, in May 2012, though the pair remained friends.

Mrs Rose, an assistant at the MoD, supported Mr Dowling when he began to experience depressive symptoms and was signed off work in February 2013.

The inquest heard Mrs Rose frequently accompanied Mr Dowling to the doctor and had confiscated the keys to his shotgun cabinet.

But she did not realise that he had access to a second gun cabinet in his property.

Giving evidence, Mrs Rose's mother, Sheila Enyon told the inquest that her daughter had left to visit Mr Dowling on March 2 and failed to return.

"Victoria and Bill had known each other since childhood, they attended the same school," Mrs Enyon said.

"I felt he had a bit of a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde personality.

"There was something I found unpleasant about him and my husband and I did not think he was the right man for her.

"Victoria told me that she and Bill had finished. I believe he never accepted it. Bill kept pressuring Victoria to get back together with him."

Mrs Enyon had stayed at her daughter's on the evening of March 1, as they were due to visit friends in South Cerney, Gloucestershire, the following morning.

But after they had dressed and had breakfast, Mrs Rose received a phone call from Mr Dowling asking her to visit because he was coughing up blood, her mother said.

"Victoria asked me if she should go round and we talked about it. Victoria told me she would not be long," Mrs Enyon said.

Later that day, police forced entry to Mr Dowling's home after being alerted by neighbours and discovered the bodies of Mrs Rose and Mr Dowling.

Brigadier Piers Hankinson, Mr Dowling's line manager at the MoD's 243 (Wessex) Brigade, said he had spoken to Mr Dowling about his performance on February 4.

"I remember saying 'Bill, you need to be aware that there are perceptions among some of the Brigade staff that you are not fully pulling your weight within HQ'. Bill agreed with me entirely, he was his normal jolly self throughout," said Brig Hankinson.

But a few weeks later, on February 12, Mr Dowling was signed off work with insomnia and depression, Brig Hankinson said.

In a text message sent to the brigadier, Mr Dowling told him: "I rarely go sick but I have never felt so bad."

Joan Plume, Brig Hankinson's secretary, told the inquest: "I felt Bill was a really nice man, however I know he had a lot of work and his workload was increasing. He always seemed to be having work related meetings in the evenings."

The inquest heard evidence from members of both Mr Dowling and Mrs Rose's families, who said he had been under an "increasing" workload.

The inquest, expected to last for two days, continues.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree