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Gloucestershire Business News

Inventor found dead by police - inquest told

The inventor and businessman who designed the furry soundshields used worldwide on film and TV microphones took his own life, a Gloucester inquest heard today.

John Gozzard, aged 85, had typed a 'very eloquent' suicide letter making it clear he was of sound mind and had taken a 'rational decision' to end his life. He then rang the police telling them what he was about to do.

Early in his career, divorcee Mr Gozzard, 85, of Cheltenham road, Painswick, worked as a sound recordist for the BBC, Southern Television and finally ATV.

He became frustrated with the heavy and cumbersome equipment used in those days, especially for outside broadcasts, so he started designing equipment, including his long zeppelin-shaped microphone windshields covered in fluffy fabric.

In 1968 he went into business, forming the company Rycote to manufacture sound recording accessories, and he ran the company full time until he sold the business and retired in 1995.

Rycote Microphone Windshields are still in business , based in Libby's Drive, Stroud.

A pathologist's report showed Mr Gozzard died from a gunshot wound. There were no drugs or alcohol detected in his body.

The coroner said it was on 4th May this year that police went to Mr Gozzard's home after he called them saying what he intended to do. They arrived and found him dead in the garden.

"He had typed his own suicide note," said the coroner. "I have seen it and read it fully."

Recording a conclusion of suicide, the coroner said "He had very strongly held views about an individual's right to end his life. It is clear from the letter that he had enjoyed his life and had now reached the firm conclusion that it was time to end it."

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