A RESPECTED librarian killed himself after losing his job on his 60th birthday after library budgets had been slashed in council cuts, a coroner heard yesterday.

Petrus Willemse was a former Buddhist monk who was hired as a part-time librarian for three years at Oxford Central Library after being employed on a casual basis.

However when the budget cuts to the service lead to him losing his librarian job - which 'meant more to him than could have been imagined' - his friends and colleagues said the talented musician couldn’t cope.

Mr Willemse, who was also a volunteer at Oxford Gay Pride in his spare time, had two roles with the library. The 60-year-old worked as Oxford’s music library lead assistant along with his librarian duties where he went 'above and beyond' for customers.

In 2016, Oxfordshire County Council announced £69 million of spending cuts and libraries were among the services to have its budget reduced. In November Mr Willemse, along with other staff, applied for one the new, reduced number of roles. However on December 9, his 60th birthday, he was told he was unsuccessful and had lost his job.

At the inquest Jillian Southwell, his superior at the library, said: “He appeared disappointed but not distressed. He also explained it was his 60th birthday but we were unaware of that. He was well liked, had a keen interest in music and was very knowledgeable about it. He was the sort of person who would go above and beyond for the customers.”

The Oxfordshire coroner heard it was explained to him he would not lose the part-time librarian role until April, however he was found hanged by one of his housemates on December 12.

Oxfordshire Coroner Darren Salter said: “There isn’t a note that was left but I am satisfied the act itself was a final act. It does not appear to be a cry for help or anything of that nature. I am satisfied he attempted to take his own life.” The coroner recorded a conclusion of suicide.

After the inquest, friends of Mr Willemse paid tribute, including colleague John Grandy. He said: “He was the most wonderful man, his colleagues adored him.

"He clearly wasn’t able to cope with the loss of his job. I think it meant more to him than we could have imagined.”

Oxford Pride chairman Rob Jordan said: “It is extremely sad, he was well liked during his time volunteering with the previous committee and worked exhaustively in the lead up to Oxford Pride and during.

"He seemed a very humble and quite noble chap.”