Page last updated at 18:52 GMT, Thursday, 12 February 2009

Banking crisis blamed for suicide

Major Bill Foxton
Major Bill Foxton had invested his money in two hedge funds

The family of a retired Army officer who apparently took his own life on Tuesday have blamed the banking crisis for his death.

Major Bill Foxton, who was 65, shot himself in a public park near his family home in Southampton.

He had lost his life savings in the alleged fraud scandal involving US financier Bernard Madoff.

His son Willard said those who "wrecked" their banks were "walking away with millions of pounds".

Major Foxton's life savings had been entrusted to two Austrian-based hedge funds.

Shortly before his death he discovered both had been closed and their funds invested with Bernard Madoff.

Ultimately they've (the bankers) made this mess and they're going to walk away from it almost scot-free
Willard Foxton

Last week he told his son he had lost every penny and he was facing bankruptcy.

His son Willard, from London, told the BBC: "Even the ones who are getting fired for wrecking their banks completely are walking away with millions and millions of pounds.

"Ultimately they've made this mess and they're going to walk away from it almost scot-free.

"They're not having a phone call saying, 'Your father's shot [him]self'."

Mr Madoff, 70, a former chairman of the Nasdaq stock exchange, is accused of running a Ponzi scheme - a system whereby early investors are paid off with the money of new clients. He is under house arrest in New York pending trial.

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