A retired dental surgeon from Marlow took his own life after suffering from mental health issues, an inquest heard this week.

Brian Lee, was found in the bathtub of his ensuite at home in Henley Road by neighbour David Rockell, who rushed over after receiving a worried phone call from Mr Lee’s wife, Lesley.

In a statement read out at Bucks Coroner’s Court this morning (Wednesday), he said: “On the morning of May 24…at around 0800 hours I received a call from Lesley.

“I found it odd as she never called, it was always her husband Brian.

“She explained that Brian hadn’t got up and she couldn’t get into his room.

“I went over and tried to open the door but it was locked and there was no response.”

He then went around to the back of the house to see if he could climb in through the window, which was open.

On going into the bedroom, Mr Rockell said he could not see 80-year-old Mr Lee in the room and the bed looked like it had been slept in.

He added: “I could see that the ensuite door was closed. I opened it and an enormous amount of steam hit me in the face.

“He was sitting in the bath and his chest was submerged. The tap was still running and the bath was stone cold.

“I assumed at that point he was dead.”

Mr Rockwell then unlocked the door to the bedroom and told Mrs Lee not to go inside, giving her the sad news and calling 999.

The court heard Mr Lee suffered from mental health issues and had left several notes in which he had talked about his intention to take his life, writing: “I can’t take any more. So sorry.”

He had also left security information and important documents for his wife.

An almost-empty bottle of brandy was found in the bathroom as well as an empty blister pack of Zopiclone, which is a sleeping pill used to help with insomnia.

Pathologist Dr Peter Johnson said there was no excess amount of alcohol found in Mr Lee’s system, and a therapeutic level of Zopiclone was recorded but it was likely that the medication had played a “significant” role in Mr Lee’s death.

He said: “If this level [of medication] was taken while he was in bed it would be appropriate but given the surroundings being in a bath, it is likely to have played a significant role in him drowning.”

Mr Lee’s friend Malcolm Clifton said in a statement read out to the court that Mr Lee had left him a voicemail on May 23 saying he felt “very depressed” and that he had been to see a doctor in London who had taken him off Prozac, leaving him feeling “devastated”.

Mr Clifton said: “He concluded by asking me to do a prayer for him.

“I vowed to drive over and see him no matter what.”

But Mr Lee sadly died the next day.

Doug Winton, another of Mr Lee’s friends, called Mr Clifton to tell him he had spoken to Mr Lee on May 22 and was concerned because he had “never heard him so depressed”.

The medical cause of death was found to be drowning with Zopiclone ingestion as a contributing factor, and senior coroner Crispin Butler ruled a conclusion of suicide.