A Wycombe postman who was struggling with an alcohol addiction hanged himself in his bedroom, a coroner has found.

Darren Bowles was found in his Royal Mail uniform on July 24, 2020 after he killed himself at his home in Hatters Lane.

At an inquest on Thursday, Buckinghamshire Coroners’ Court heard how police were called to Mr Bowles’s home at around 10pm the night before after he texted his manager at Royal Mail, telling her that if he didn’t come to work the next day, it would be because he had killed himself.

After spending two hours with Mr Bowles, officers put him in touch with the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust night response team.

However, police were called to his home the following morning when he did not show up to work, and found his body in the bedroom. The bin in his room contained several Stella Artois cans.

Coroner Crispin Butler concluded that Mr Bowles died by hanging, and that although he was drunk at the time, the alcohol was not the cause of his death.

He said: “Although there is a level of alcohol, I would regard that as part of the process of what’s occurred here, rather than something that totally impaired his judgement.”

Reading from a report from his GP, Mr Butler revealed that Mr Bowles had been suffering with alcoholism for a long time.

He had struggled with night sweats in the past and reported that alcoholics anonymous “didn’t work” for him.

Mr Butler added: “There were a lot of issues that is was clear to me were weighing heavily on Darren’s mind.

“He had stated he had suicidal thoughts due to alcohol and relationship issues.”

The coroner also revealed that following the death of Mr Bowles, Oxford Health launched a root cause analysis investigation, which found that Mr Bowles’s call the night before his death was not taken by a qualified clinician and was not escalated to the crisis team.

Mr Butler said: “Areas of learning have been identified, but it is not to say whether the actions taken would have been different had the call been taken by a qualified clinician.”

He added that Oxford Health healthcare assistants have been put forward for training to recognise and help someone thinking about taking their life.

The coroner concluded that the actions taken by Oxford Health would not have affected what happened to Mr Bowles, and stated that the recommendations it had made in its own report were stronger than any he could make.

“Escalation for action on subsequent days would not have helped Darren in this particular situation because unfortunately he was found the following morning,” he added.

* The Samaritans can be called at any time on 116 123; or you can email Jo@samaritans.org

* Papyrus is dedicated to preventing young suicides. Its Hopeline can be reached on 0800 068 4141; the charity’s website www.papyrus-uk.org

* The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is on 0800 585858; its website is www.thecalmzone.net