Byline: GLENDA COOPER
ON TUESDAY afternoon, the picturesque 13th-century church was already crammed full of mourners when a pale, dishevelled young man wearing a cheap, chainstore jacket approached the door.
Practically the whole Nottinghamshire village of Barnby in the Willows had turned out to All Saints to mark the funeral of Arthur Snipe, miner turned millionaire.
But then 76-year-old Arthur had been a local legend - the working-class hero who bought the village manor from a baronet and became the master of the hunt. For 30 years, the doughty industrialist had played a significant role in the community.
So no one could believe it when, a week earlier, an inquest had found that he had committed suicide by shooting himself in the head, early one April morning. Everyone was eager to pay their respects - including his son Andrew, the young man in the navy jacket who walked up to the church door.
And there, he says, he stopped. His courage failed him and he walked away.
After all, he had not been invited - in fact he'd found out that the funeral was taking place only from the local newspaper.
Andrew was the son that Arthur had adopted at only ten days old, and brought up as his own. He had been educated at public schools, taken on expensive holidays several times a year and given a lavish [pound]200,000 trust fund - an enviable start in life.
Just over three decades later, however, Andrew has a long criminal record, a heroin addiction and the knowledge that many people blame him for his father's untimely death - his mother included, according to Andrew.
If ever there were a cautionary tale of how drug addiction is no respecter of wealth, class or intelligence, it is in the tale of Andrew Philip Snipe, now 32, estranged from his family, living in a filthy bedsit where he once counted a 1,000-acre manor as his home, surviving on [pound]52 a week income support when he once had a six-figure bank account.
His craving for heroin made him steal from his family, betray their trust countless times and squander the hard-earned cash his father worked for - causing Arthur to …