A FORMER fish and chip shop owner from Cradley Heath committed suicide after being plagued by fears over ill health, an inquest heard.

Michael Howard was found hanging in the garage of his Beauty Bank home by his daughter Rebecca Fox on January 2.

An inquest at Smethwick Coroner’s Court today (Monday) heard Mr Howard, who retired from the family business Our Plaice five years ago, left a note for his wife of 50 years Maureen.

Black Country Coroner Robin Balmain said the 70-year-old father of three had been treated by a psychiatrist for five years after suffering worries over his health.

Daughter Rebecca told the inquest her father’s fears were “irrational.”

Widow Maureen Howard said: “It started five years ago - he was convinced he had cancer.”

She went on: “It was his mind. We have nine grandchildren, a beautiful house and everything. Anyone looking from the outside was so shocked why.”

Mrs Howard said the couple met when they worked together when she was 21 and Mr Howard was 18.

She said: “We have always worked together.”

Mr Howard ran his first fish and chip shop in Two Gates, Colley Gate, for around three years, before moving to another shop in nearby Beecher Road and finally to Our Plaice, Dudley Road, Halesowen, 22 years ago. His son Paul now runs the award-winning takeaway with his son Oliver. Son Gregg runs Hagley fish and chip shop Our Plaice. Mr Howard had been a member of Halesowen Golf Club for around 40 years and was also a member of Rowley Fishing Club.

Mr Balmain said Mr Howard’s health was normal for a man of his age. He recorded a verdict of suicide.