A FATHER-of-four who openly talked about having suicidal thoughts took his own life, a coroner has ruled.

Basingstoke Coroner's Court heard on Monday how Christopher Brian Ball, 77, had “barricaded” himself in a bedroom before he hanged himself on July 4 this year.

The inquest heard how Mr Ball had become increasingly withdrawn and would not socialise or take part in family events.

On July 4, his wife Margaret had taken their dogs out for a walk while Mr Ball was getting ready to go fishing, something he was looking forward to.

Mrs Ball said: “When I returned he was in the kitchen and had his back to me and the door must have slammed and given him a fright.”

The inquest heard this caused an argument between the couple. After Mrs Ball had returned to their home in Hoppersmead, Cliddesden, from going shopping she noticed her husband’s car was still on the drive.

She added: “When I came in I saw that his bedroom door was closed but that was not unusual.”

The inquest heard the next day Mrs Ball had not had any contact with her husband so knocked on the bedroom door, but when there was no response she became concerned and phoned one of her daughters who contacted the police.

Attending officer PC Amanda McHenry told the inquest when she attempted to open the door it was barricaded. She managed to pry open the door and discovered Mr Ball's body.

Mr Ball's family said he would openly talk about his suicidal thoughts with family members.

In delivering a conclusion of suicide, North East Hampshire coroner Andrew Bradley said: “It is a very difficult thing to do as it is not a committee decision.

“It seems like he had clear intentions in doing what he did.”

The Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123, or via email at jo@samaritans.org.