By Alec Whitaker, Cavendish Press
A COMPANY director shot himself dead on a Mossley rifle range after becoming overwhelmed by a traumatic split from his girlfriend, an inquest heard.
Emil Malinski, 29, was engaged in target practise with a .22 calibre Rimfire air rifle on November 2 last year and had fired 39 pellets but then suddenly sat down and turned the weapon on himself.
Staff who heard a chilling ‘thud’ at Tameside Pistol Club, Weir Mill, found Mr Malinski dying in a booth with fatal head injuries. He was subsequently pronounced dead in hospital.
It emerged he had been legally entitled to the use the gun even though he was unsupervised and had a history of depression and low mood. He left notes for relatives apologising for his impending suicide.
The coroner said he would be sending an account of the tragedy to Home Secretary Priti Patel saying there needed to be more “coherent legislation’’ about the use of small rifle ranges.
Polish-born Mr Malinski, from Rusholme, was a director of his own electrical installation company and had met the unnamed woman online and it is thought she moved in with him and her young son.
But university friend Cara Elliott told the Stockport hearing: “The relationship ended in 2020 and he was devastated. I saw him on in October last year and it was the lowest he has been in his life.
“He said he did not want to live in Manchester anymore and that going to go and live with his parents in Poland.
“My partner contacted him, and he was saying he wanted to die but did not give any further details.
“He stopped contacting me and he closed his social media accounts.. He was acting out of character and was taking balloons and drugs.
“Later he brought chocolates around to my parents and said he was leaving England and not coming back. He was not answering any of our messages.
“The police later phoned me and said he had died at a shooting range. He never mentioned firearms or going to a gun range.”
To became a member at the range, a police vetting process must take place, and detailed medical history has to be sought but the hearing was told Mr Malinski was still permitted to fire his own air rifle at the range, and use firearms owned by GM Guns.
Graham Burns, who owns GM Guns and works at the pistol club, said: “Emil became such a regular at the facility we invited him to become a member, but he declined the offer of completing an application form.
“He would use his own air rifle and no one had expressed any concerns, he was well presented and very polite. He would not always sign the visitors register but there were no problems with him shooting.
“I chatted with him on the day he died. He left the range often to go outside and smoke. I chatted to him briefly about his gun that morning and then I stopped him to discuss methods offered to him to stop smoking.
“He said he had tried various things and it was a standard conversation.
“I had been gone five minutes before I got a phone call in my car that something awful had happened.
“A retired police officer who happened to be at the range took the lead in administering first aid.
“I gave him a .22 Rimfire rifle that same day and he had access to that and his own rifle.
“Anyone can take a .22 rifle and use it for their own enjoyment without requiring a firearm certificate.
“We have no qualms to say we did everything we possibly could. He was not someone on my radar who would cause mischief or self-harm.”
Police coroners’ officer Andrew Stevenson said: “I got called to a call of a significant head injury. It was an unsurviveable gunshot injury.
“This was not something anyone had done, he had done it himself. There was no third-party involvement and no suspicious circumstances.
“He left a small note on the range apologising for what he had done and contact details for his cousin as an emergency contact. He said in the note that there were letters in his laptop. He gave us a trail.
“We attended his home address and seized his phone from the range and laptop from his home.
“It appeared the laptop was mainly used for gaming. There were some significant documents files on his desktop saying ‘SOS Adrian’ who was his cousin and a folder saying ‘Last Will’.
“Upon further inspection on the laptop, there was research of ballistic and pellets. He had clearly done research on air rifle pellets.
“The letters were very clear he was going to end his life. He had researched and planned but had not planned a date.’’
The inquest was told Mr Malinski had been to see his GP in June 2020 asking for antidepressants as he had a history of low moods.
Recording a conclusion of suicide, coroner Chris Morris said: “Emil was someone who was suave and entertaining, but he was also deeply troubled.
“He sought some assistance for low mood and formed a habit of attending a gun club. I am satisfied that he intentionally fired a shot to his own head. I am going to issue a report to the Home Secretary.
“There is absence of a coherent legislation around how miniature rifle ranges should operate.
“I send my condolences to his family and friends.”
Under the 1968 Firearms Act a person can use a miniature rifle at a range without certificate as long as the firearm does not exceed a .23 inch calibre.
The legislation does not make clear what level of supervision is required when using the rifles.