A CORONER has ruled a sailor took his own life after struggling to come to terms of the suicide of his best friend.
Engineering Technician Sam Hatton shot himself in the small arms store of HMS at Portsmouth Naval Base on September 12, 2010.
The 20-year-old’s death came seven months after his friend Matthew Webster shot himself in similar circumstances aboard HMS Hurworth in Faslane.
Recording a verdict of suicide, coroner David Horsley said ET Hatton was a ‘vulnerable’ individual, adding: ‘Anyone would be deeply distressed by the death of a close friend but Sam took the death of his best friend extremely hard.’
The coroner said ET Hatton, who had a troubled upbringing in foster care, felt the navy was his family and that he found it hard to be open about his feelings with crewmates for fear of appearing weak - even during ‘cruel’ banter.
He said: ‘If he had revealed his true feelings, I am sure he would have received help.’
The coroner then took the unprecedented step of asking the court to stand for a moment’s silence in tribute to ET Hatton.
Afterwards, Mr Horsley said: ‘I’m sorry to all Sam’s family and friends at your loss. It’s done now and, if possible, I would like you to put me and our inquest behind you and concentrate on the affectionate memories of Sam.’