Dad found dead in woods in Buckinghamshire after partner left him and argument with his son

Father-of-three, 57, was found dead in the woods after he had a punch-up with his son and his partner of 24 years left him

  • Alfred Nichols struck his son during the early hours of March 24 
  • Body found next day beside two bottles of vodka in woods in Buckinghamshire 

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A father-of-three was found dead in a woodland after his partner of 24 years left him  when he punched their son, an inquest heard today. 

When Ms Thompson made the decision to separate from Mr Nichols he left their home in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, in the early hours of March 24. 

But when he failed to return that night his worried family joined the police in an overnight search.  

It was not until after lunchtime on the following day that Mr Nichols’ body was found in woodland next to two vodka bottles.

Alfred Nichols, 57, overdosed on alcohol and prescription drugs after his partner of 24 years left him when he punched their son 

A police officer initially thought the man was sunbathing before realising his slumped body was lifeless.

The inquest in Buckinghamshire heard Mr Nichols’ final words before storming out of the home were: ‘Nobody wants me so I might as well do myself in’.

He had given Ms Thompson a kiss on the head, as he always did before he left, and posted his wallet and keys through the front door. 

The family revealed Mr Nichols frequently threatened to kill himself as a ‘guilt trip’ and on one occasion had threatened to take his life if Ms Thompson left the house. 

It came after police were called to the home after reports Mr Nichols had punched his son and left a scratch on his face after an altercation between his son and his grandmother.

Detective Sergeant Matt Kent said: ‘At 5.31am, Thames Valley Police were called by south central ambulance service who stated that a father had punched his son causing a scratch to his face.

‘Everybody at the address had been drinking and the father (Alfred) was sat outside drinking with an eight-year-old in his vehicle.

‘At 7am, the son called the police again disclosing that his father had stormed out of their home after having been aggressive to his mother and said she had ended the relationship after 24 years, following the punch.’

Dad found dead in woods in Buckinghamshire after partner left him and argument with his son

The police officer who found the father initially mistook him for a man sunbathing before realising his slumped body was lifeless

The inquest heard Ms Thompson had later attended hospital to be treated for a suspected broken finger after she intervened in the struggle between her partner and her son.

After Ms Thompson spoke to the nurse, police were alerted to a fear for welfare and were deployed to the Castlefield woodland area to search for the missing father. 

A toxicology analysis conducted by forensic analyst Luke Jones revealed there was an excessive amount of prescription drugs in Mr Nichols’ system and traces of cannabis. 

The inquest heard Mr Nichols had deliberately overdosed twice, in 1996 and 1999, and had, in the past, been drinking up to a quarter bottle of vodka and six joints of cannabis a day.

But since December 2018 had self-referred to drug and alcohol services and was following a reduction programme.

The coroner concluded that Alfred did take a lethal concoction of drugs and alcohol but said on the balance of probabilities he did not intend to take his own life, as the family believed it was a cry for help. 

The independent office for police conduct, the force watchdog, was investigating how the police handled Mr Nichols’ case before he died, the inquest heard. 

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