The owner of a Cotswolds mansion once voted 'England's Favourite House' shot herself dead seven months after a horseriding accident which had a 'terrible effect' on her life.

Mother of three Serena Prest, 56, was found dead in the garden of Eyford House in Upper Slaughter on the morning of June 6 last year by her husband Rupert Prest, the Gloucester coroner's court was told on Thursday, January 12.

Assistant county coroner Roland Wooderson recorded a conclusion of suicide.

Cotswold Journal: Gloucestershire Coroner's CourtGloucestershire Coroner's Court (Image: GNS)

In 2011 Mrs Prest's home was voted England’s Favourite House by a panel of judges including 'Downton Abbey' creator Lord Julian Fellowes, ceramics company boss Emma Bridgewater, businesswoman and socialite Viscountess Annabel Astor and Charlie Brooks.

They chose the early-20th-century Cotswolds home out of a 150-strong field because they felt it was ‘the quintessential country house for many generations.'

Mrs Prest, full name Joanna Alice Serena, inherited the house from her mother Charlotte Heber-Percy, who had in turn inherited it from her father Sir Cyril Kleinwort.

In a statement to the inquest Mr Prest, who did not attend the hearing, said they had married in 1993 and his wife had suffered from mental health issues and was on anti-depressants for many years.

"In November 2021 she fell off her horse and knocked herself out for 5-10 minutes," he stated.

"That accident had a terrible effect on her and her anti-depressants seemed to stop working.

"She had been to see several doctors and specialists but was not feeling any better.

"She had made threats to kill herself, including saying she would drive into a tree."

Mr Prest hid both sets of keys to the family gun cabinet.

After her death on June 6, the keys were still in place but one gun had been removed from the cabinet.

Mr Prest explained that on the morning of June 6 his wife got up between 7am and 7.30am and at about 8am he heard a loud gunshot.

He went downstairs and found an envelope addressed to him containing a note from Serena before finding her about five minutes later.

Detective Sgt Alexander Pockett of Gloucestershire Police said went to Eyford House that morning.

"Death was pronounced at the scene by a paramedic,” the officer stated.

"In my opinion there is nothing suspicious surrounding Mrs Prest's death and there was no third-party involvement.

“It would appear Mrs Prest has taken her own life by shooting herself with the shotgun.”

The inquest heard that pathologist Dr Terry Jones conducted a postmortem examination on Mrs Prest and gave cause of death as a shotgun wound to the head.

The assistant coroner said: "It seems to me that I have sufficient evidence to be able to conclude this very sad inquest.

“It is clear on the evidence that Mrs Prest died on 6th June 2022 at Eyford House, her home address.

“I accept the cause of death as shotgun wound to the head.

"I have read the note, but I won't refer to it any further. In my judgement it does indicate that the deceased wished to take her own life."