A 'MUCH-loved' father-of-one died after hanging himself at his home despite the “valiant efforts” of his wife and neighbour to save him, an inquest heard.

Robert Shaffer, 52, of Burnham Road, Chingford, had suffered with bouts of depression since 1993 but did not leave a note or speak of wanting to hurt himself, Walthamstow Coroner's Court was told.

Mr Shaffer, who worked at the Mount Pleasant sorting office, was found by his wife, Ruth, 47, at about 3.40pm on April 2 this year, hanging from the loft hatch on an upstairs landing.

Mrs Shaffer then phoned an ambulance and rushed out to find help, the court heard.

Her neighbour, Ernest Brayley, came with her to the house and tried to lift Mr Shaffer down but found he was too heavy and had to cut him free using a scalpel.

Mr Shaffer's sister, Carol Sheridan, 49, said: “He was much-loved by the people he worked for at the post office – they sent a coach-load to the funeral.

“He never knew that he was so loved and cared for.”

Mr Shaffer had made a previous bid to harm himself with a cocktail of alcohol and painkillers but was seen by his GP and did not need further treatment, the court heard.

Because no note was left and there had been no indication that Mr Shaffer intended to hurt himself, deputy coroner Dr William Dolman recorded an open verdict.

He said: “His neighbour and his wife made a valiant attempt to save his life by cutting him down and I give every credit to them for doing that – it's a very distressing situation to come up against.

“I offer every sympathy to the family of the deceased. I hope you don't keep in your memory the events of April this year but remember the happier times, as they can never be taken away.”