A GARDENER found hanging at his Kidlington home was described by his cousin as a proud man.

Paul Bethell, 57, was discovered by a friend on Friday, May 2, along with a suicide note, an inquest at Oxfordshire Coroner’s Court heard on Wednesday.

Speaking after the inquest, Alan Denman, 62, said: “He was a fine young man. It was a complete shock and we have no understanding as to why he would do this. He was a clever, courteous and proud man.”

Mr Bethell, of Marlborough Avenue, who was single, was last seen by a neighbour on April 30.

Two days later his friend of 36 years John Stansby was alerted by one of Mr Bethell’s customers, who said he had not turned up for a job. Mr Stansby went to his house and found him hanging upstairs, as well as a suicide note.

In a statement he said: “He confided in a joint friend of ours that he was feeling a bit depressed.”

A post-mortem examination indicated the cause of death was hanging, while a toxicology report showed he was almost two times over the drink-drive limit.

Coroner Darren Salter said he had no history of mental health issues and was surprised at what happened. He recorded a verdict of suicide.