An inquest has heard a farmer drowned in a stream after deliberately driving his Land Rover through a roadside fence on Buttertubs Pass, North Yorkshire.
The court heard Norman Alan Busby, 51, survived the collision, which took place on January 11, and began walking downhill towards the village of Thwaite.
But his body was found face down in a stream by police and mountain rescue volunteers later that afternoon.
The coroner was told Mr Busby had struggled to cope with the added responsibility of running the sheep farm after his dad passed away in 2014 and the breakdown of his marriage.
Held at County Hall, Northallerton on Monday November 16, the inquest heard how local farmer Trevor Reynoldson found the damaged and abandoned Land Rover while out feeding his sheep that morning and reported it to the police.
Mr Busby’s GP told the coroner his patient had no history of mental health and was ’normally fit and well’.
Friends and family had also been in contact with Mr Busby in the days before the incident but had no serious concerns about his welfare.
Recording a narrative verdict, coroner John Broadbridge said a suicide verdict could not be recorded as it could not be said for certain whether Mr Busby had ended up in the stream intentionally or accidentally.
"I find the action with his vehicle was intentional, and that it is clear that he survived the fall and got out of the vehicle," Mr Broadbridge said.
"He was upset by a major life change that had disturbed him, and left a note apologising, though there was no addressee.
“It seems his intention was to turn off the road and it may be that he expected to suffer fatal injury.
"He was alive when he entered the stream. He could have stayed near the vehicle, so there is a question of whether this was an ongoing attempt to end his life, or accidental.”