Page last updated at 15:08 GMT, Monday, 17 August 2009 16:08 UK

Shot man 'may have wanted to die'

Scene of shooting
David Sycamore was killed on the cathedral steps in November

A man shot dead by police at Guildford Cathedral was unhappy and may have wanted to die, an inquest heard.

David Sycamore, 39, who had manic depression, was shot in the chest and arm on 30 November 2008.

Police were called after he told a member of the public he was going to "start shooting people", but the gun fired only blanks.

His ex-girlfriend said he told her he was unhappy at home and at work. The inquest is expected to last four days.

Mr Sycamore was seen to pull out a gun, thought to be a handgun, on the steps of the cathedral, the jury was told.

'On purpose'

The administrative assistant, who lived with his parents near the cathedral, was shot by two Surrey Police officers as he sat on the steps.

It was not discovered until his death that the 8mm gun could only fire blanks.

Coroner Michael Burgess said a police officer visiting Mr Sycamore's parents' home after his death recalled his mother saying: "He's done it on purpose. He had been saying he was going to get himself shot."

He was always telling me he didn't want to live any more and he wanted to die. He wasn't happy
Claire Hamilton, David Sycamore's ex-girlfriend

Mr Sycamore's brother Mark said he could not remember that conversation, only that his mother had broken down in tears after being told her son was dead.

Mr Sycamore was taking anti-depressants and made an attempt to take his life 17 years previously, the inquest heard.

He had also told an ex-girlfriend shortly before his death that he wanted to die.

His former girlfriend Claire Hamilton described how he made a series of phone calls to her shortly before his death, saying he was unhappy in work and at home.

She said: "He said it so many times to me. I didn't think he was going to do anything silly.

"He was always telling me he didn't want to live any more and he wanted to die. He wasn't happy."

The inquest, at Surrey Coroner's Court in Woking, is continuing.

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