A 25-YEAR-OLD man sent a series of harrowing pictures as he prepared to hang himself in woods after he broke-up with his girlfriend, an inquest heard this week.

Coroner Richard Hulett ruled that Ashley Birch, born in Chesham, took his own life after sending the succession of pictures and text messages to his former partner.

The inquest heard Ashley had used a cable, which it is believed he had taken from Clarks of Amersham, where he worked.

His body was discovered in woods near South Road, Chesham Bois, on Thursday, June 26.

DC Linda Stearman of Aylesbury CID told the court how a manhunt had begun to look for Ashley after his ex-girlfriend informed them of the messages.

She said: “The deceased had been in a relationship until it ended on Monday, June 23, when he moved out.

“He told of plans to self harm and had sent a number of pictures which included one with a noose around his neck.

“Police had been informed of the messages and a missing persons search began.

“This resulted in the deceased being located hanging by a tree from a long black cable.”

As well as two picture messages of the cable hanging from the trees and the picture of him, Ashley also wrote a note on his white t-shirt in a black marker pen.

Exact details of text messages and of the note were not read out, but during the inquest Mr Hulett described them as a "final message".

Mr Birch, who had grown up in Chesham, had been living with his girlfriend in Quill Hill Lane, Amersham.

Following the discovery of his body, his employers paid tribute to him.

A post on the company's Facebook page said: "We would like to thank you all for your kind messages, emails and phone calls at this very sad time.

“The loss of our colleague and friend Ashley is truly devastating and at this time our thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family.

“We will make sure your words and messages are passed on to them."

In concluding with the verdict of taking his own life, Mr Hulett said for someone only of the age of 25, it was very tragic.