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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 January, 2004, 14:59 GMT
Cannabis 'led to shooting'
Webster Close in Lincoln
The two men had been arguing about a hedge
The shooting death of a man in Lincoln is proof that cannabis is not a harmless drug, a coroner has told an inquest.

Robert Dickenson, 52, was "drunk and drugged" when he gunned down his neighbour, George Wilson, 66, in the doorway of his Lincoln home after an argument over a hedge.

At an inquest on Thursday, the jury at Lincoln Crown Court ruled Mr Wilson had been unlawfully killed and Mr Dickenson had committed suicide, but added neglect in prison had contributed to his death.

Coroner Roger Atkinson said it was the worst case he had seen where cannabis had led to such a tragic event.

It is a drug which has an effect on the brain
Roger Atkinson
He said: "I would want to stress... that cannabis is not a harmless drug and this case demonstrates how devastating its effects can be."

Mr Dickenson was charged with murder, but hanged himself in his prison cell exactly a week after the shooting in June last year.

The jury at Lincoln Crown Court heard how the two men, who were neighbours in Webster Close, had been arguing in the street over a hedge which separated their gardens in the weeks prior to their deaths.

On 13 June, Mr Dickenson and his neighbour were seen fighting outside their home after Mr Dickenson claimed Mr Wilson had yanked a trimmer from him.

'Drunk on floor'

He claimed he was going to kill Mr Wilson before returning back to his house and grabbing a revolver.

He then shot Mr Wilson four times, leaving him with a fatal bullet wound to the head.

Mr Dickenson was later discovered by police lying on the kitchen floor in his home, where officers said it was clear he was drunk.

He was taken to hospital and later arrested over the death of Mr Wilson, but a week later was found hanging at Lincoln Prison.

Cannabis in attic

Mr Atkinson, summing up the case, said: "He had a considerable level of alcohol in his blood at the time of the incident.

"It is also the case that he was addicted to cannabis which he grew in his attic.

"There are people who suggest that cannabis is a harmless drug. That is not the case.

"It is a drug which has an effect on the brain and it's clearly had an effect on Robert Dickenson."

Hedge row man 'hung himself with sling'
13 Jan 04  |  Lincolnshire
'Hedge row' inquest opens
12 Jan 04  |  Lincolnshire
'Hedge shooting' man dies
24 Jun 03  |  Lincolnshire

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