AN inquest has ruled that a missing man who was found dead at a rugby club died as a result of suicide.

Andrew Smith, 45, was found dead at Braintree Rugby Club on December 13 last year after he was reported missing the previous afternoon.

He was spotted hanging from a tree by a police helicopter in the early hours of the morning. Officers and paramedics on the ground attended the rugby club but Mr Smith was pronounced dead at the scene. A post-mortem examination confirmed the cause of death was hanging.

Mr Smith was reported missing after leaving home the previous afternoon following a family disagreement prompting Essex Police to launch a large search which included a helicopter being called out twice.

At an inquest into his death last Thursday, Essex Coroner’s Court heard Mr Smith had a history of suicide attempts and had been taking anti-depressants. As a result he was designated as a high-risk missing person.

His wife, Melinda Smith, told the court that she did not believe her husband had been given the correct medication for his mental health. She also thanked the police for their efforts in finding her husband.

She said: “I had a feeling that he was at the rugby club but I suppose that’s my own frustration. Overall I do feel you responded very quickly and you could have not believed me but you did.”

A toxicology report revealed Mr Smith had 138 mg of alcohol in 100 ml of blood - one and a half times the drink drive limit - but coroner Eleanor McGann said it would not have meant he didn’t know what he was doing.

The court also heard an undated note written by Mr Smith was found at his home.

Mrs McGann said: “I find on the balance of probabilities that Mr Smith’s death was as a result of suicide. I hope you can remember some of the happy times and I hope you all remember the kind and loving person he was. I do hope as a family you can help each other to deal with this tragedy.”

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