A PhD student originally from High Wycombe took her own life after she was mocked for not being "posh enough", an inquest heard.

Third year doctoral candidate Jessica Small, 26, had been struggling with anxiety and depression for some time before she committed suicide in her own home.

The post-graduate student at University of Kent's School of Anthropology and Conservation struggled with the "toxic" environment in the university laboratory, Maidstone Coroners' Court heard on Tuesday.

In a statement, mum Lesley Small said: "She really had such low self-esteem.

"She was questioning whether she should be doing the PhD.

"She was getting palpitations and having sweats to the point that she was getting panic attacks.

"She told me people in her lab made her life hell, that it was toxic.

"The underlying issue was that Jess had gone through state education and the others had gone through private education.

"She 'wasn't posh enough'. She put a lot of pressure on herself.

"She told me about being mocked for her accent and because she'd never been sailing."

Jess was found dead at her home in Canterbury, Kent, on October 11.

Police investigating Jess' death interviewed her colleagues and found while there had been past problems, these were later resolved.

She had been on antidepressants, and was undergoing cognitive behavioural therapy at the time of her death.

In a statement, her mum added: "I knew she was on antidepressants. If she had any real issues she would tell me.

"Jess had not expressed any suicidal thoughts to me."

A talented student who graduated with first-class honours, along with a Masters from UCL, had received a "very prestigious" vice chancellor's scholarship to fund her PhD studies.

She also taught a number of modules to younger students, and was deemed a "great teacher".

Supervisor Dr Chris Deter said: "I loved working wit her. She was very good with the students, and she made them think."

In April, Dr Deter became concerned after Jess said she needed to take a break to recuperate from depression.

Dr Deter asked her to speak to the university's wellbeing adviser, Stone Fitzgerald, after she missed deadlines.

She failed to attend her next scheduled meeting with Dr Deter on October 8.

Colleagues grew concerned when she failed to turn up for several days, and eventually they contacted Jess' family in High Wycombe.

Her parents rang the police, who broke into her flat and found her dead.

Her body had been there for several days.

Concluding the inquest, Coroner Eileen Sproson said: "Although there wasn't a suicide note, the evidence leads me to conclude that this was a deliberate act.

"For these reasons, I find that Jessica died as a result of suicide."

For confidential support in the UK, call the Samaritans on 116123, email jo@samaritans.org or visit a local Samaritans branch. See samaritans.org for more details.