Scroll through pictures above to see pictures from the scene of the incident.

A chef nicknamed “Santa Claus” by children in the town where he lived was found hanged in a town centre multi-storey car park by two homeless men sleeping rough there, an inquest heard today.

The shocking discovery was made on the top floor of Easton Street car park, where 58-year-old Patrick Humphries, of Monks Risborough, appeared to be slumped against a wall, but was found to have hanged himself with a white cord.

Rough sleeper Andrew Moore had slept in the car park overnight and gone up to the top floor in order to wash his face and brush his teeth, when he noticed a man with a large white beard slumped between the wall and a fence.

He nudged the man with his foot but there was no response and Mr Moore went to fetch a friend who declared that he thought the man was dead.

Neither had a mobile phone so they leaned over a railing to call to a passer-by to dial 999.

His brother, Timothy Humphries, attended the inquest at Beaconsfield Coroner’s Court, and said he believed that his sibling had owed money to people at the time of his death.

He told Coroner Crispin Butler: “Patrick would usually wear two watches and walk with a frame. He had a large white beard which led to some children calling him Santa Claus.

“I saw him the previous day as I was leaving for work. I said I would see him later but Patrick never told me where he was going that day.

“I returned home about 5.50pm and as I approached the house I noticed that my bedroom window was closed. This was odd as I normally leave it open.

“I went up the stairs and found a note in his writing, written in felt tip pen – it said ‘sorry that it had come to this, that no money was coming in, that I probably hate him and goodbye.”

Mr Humphries added: “I didn’t know that Patrick had any worries. Growing up with my mother protecting him, he was not good with money and settling down.

“I had suspicions that he was being chased by people for money.

“Patrick did not want to be told what to do, which led to him acting up.”

He said that the chef had a history of going missing and had walked out several times previously. The first few times the police were notified.

Bucks Free Press:

Mr Humphries added: “The next time when he went, I didn’t bother to notify police. I just called around the hospitals myself. He was in Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

“It just happened. He wouldn’t say anything to anyone. On one earlier occasion he did leave a note similar in context to the last one.”

Detective Constable Mauminder Purewai said: “In relation to the car park, there are a number of rough sleepers that sleep in that car park.

“We have spoken to many of them about any possible disturbance.

“Two cars were parked on the top floor, one of them was a serving police officer’s.

“There seemed to be nothing to indicate third-party involvement, no injuries. The rope was neat and tidy, someone had taken time with it.

“No rough sleepers had seen Mr Humphries.”

Mr Butler said he was satisfied Mr Humphries, of Kingsmead, in Monks Risborough, Bucks., had intended to end his life when he hanged himself in Easton Street, High Wycombe, on September 15.

He said: “In terms of evidence we heard that around his neck was a thick white cord tied to a barrier.

“His indications were shown in a note.”