A FATHER-of-three who felt he couldn’t go on without his late wife by his side left an audio recording for his three sons asking them for forgiveness.

Kenneth Halstead, 57, was found hanged in his home in Haslingden in July.

An inquest into his death heard that Mr Halstead had been suffering from depression following the death of his wife, Wendy Susan Halstead, who died in Pendleside Hospice aged 55 earlier in the year.

The retired refuse collector, who was born in Rossendale, was found by his son Karl who had returned to his father’s address on South View Street in Haslingden after spending the night with his girlfriend.

A statement read out by coroner James Newman said Karl Halstead arrived at the home at 8am on July 4 and let himself in.

He said: “The TV was on in the living room and the pet dog was sitting in the armchair.

“He made himself a cup of tea and then made his way up to the first floor where as he approached the landing he found his father.”

In his statement, Karl Halstead went on to say that his father had been very down since his mother died in April and that his father had been looking after his mother while she was very ill.

He also noted that his father had not been eating properly and that many people were worried about him.

He did, however, recall that when he last saw his father he was in good spirits and they had been laughing and joking about the World Cup football matches that were taking place.

The inquest was also told how the week before his death, Mr Halstead had been to see his GP to discuss his depression. His doctor offered to refer him to helpline Mental Health Matters, but he declined.

A police sergeant attended the scene and located a dictation machine in Mr Halstead’s bedroom.

A statement from police said: “There were no signs of anything suspicious in the house. However, there was the Dictaphone left by the side of his bed.

“He left a message to his sons saying he was sorry that he had to do this. He felt that he couldn’t go on missing his wife. He asked his sons for forgiveness.”

His death was confirmed by paramedics at the scene and police revealed there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding it.

Mr Newman said: “I can conclude that on the balance of probabilities, Kenneth Halstead died as a result of hanging.

“He was found suspended by a ligature at his home address, he was unrecoverable and passed away.

“Due to the circumstances and mechanism by which Mr Halstead died, alongside evidence provided by items located in the property, I do conclude that his death was due to suicide. This was a deliberate act taken by Mr Halstead.”