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The only son of novelist Graham Greene, 85, killed himself in the grounds of his Devon home after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer

  • Francis Greene, 85, had been diagnosed with two life threatening illnesses
  • He suffered six self inflicted wounds to his chest and heart and left a suicide note
  • For help, call Samaritans for free on 116 123 or visit www.samaritans.org 

The only son of novelist Graham Greene killed himself in the grounds of his Devon home, an inquest has heard.

Francis Greene, who was his father’s literary executor for many years, had been diagnosed with two potentially life threatening illnesses including prostate cancer shortly before his death in May last year. 

The 85-year-old suffered six self inflicted wounds to his chest and heart and left a suicide note taped to his desk which said that he did not want to ‘make others miserable’.

Graham Greene's (pictured) son Francis was his literary executor for many years

Graham Greene’s (pictured) son Francis was his literary executor for many years

His wife of 50 years, Anne, said they had lived together at Musbury, Devon, for more than four decades, and told the Exeter inquest: ‘In an ideal world we would have gone together.’ 

She added: ‘There was absolutely no forewarning he was planning to take his own life. I am left in complete shock and devastated that I have lost Francis.

‘He felt despair from his recent diagnosis and felt this was his decision to make. I did not perhaps understand quite how poorly he was.’ 

Francis was found lying on the ground within a circle of nut trees near the couple’s driveway in May last year. 

He had been a journalist and war correspondent reporting on the Vietnam War and the Six Day War in the Middle East.

Area coroner Alison Longhorn recorded a suicide conclusion saying ‘it is fair to say one of his biggest fears was being dependent and unable to look after himself’.

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