THE family of a “gentle, unassuming and intelligent” pensioner paid tribute to him at the inquest into his death.

Robert Dearlove, 84, was found in his Burnham home on May 10. He was discovered after friends had raised concerns for his welfare as he had not been seen for several days.

Emergency services attended but Mr Dearlove was sadly declared dead at the scene.

The inquest into his death was held at Essex Coroner’s Court on Thursday, where senior coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray heard evidence that Mr Dearlove had spoken with his step-son four days prior.

Coroner’s officer Alan Clements said: “On May 6, Mr Dearlove had spoken on the phone with his step-son. On May 10, concerns were raised by friends of Mr Dearlove as he had not been seen in three days, with the curtains in his windows drawn and a newspaper sticking out of the letter box.

“Friends entered the property and found Mr Dearlove hanging. Two notes had been left on the kitchen side with next of kin details.

“Police attended and confirmed there were no suspicious circumstances. A post mortem examination was carried out, finding the cause of death to be 1A hanging.”

Speaking at the hearing, Mr Dearlove’s step-son Colin Lister said that he had lived in Burnham for 48 years, and was known as “Kent”, but since losing his wife two years ago had become lonelier.

He said: “We used to visit him regularly, and phone him regularly. He had a tremendous range of friends, all of whom that we have spoken to have said they felt guilty that they maybe could have done more to help.

“But he never showed any strong sign that this was his intention. We had asked him if he wanted to move, up to Felixstowe where we live, as he has always suffered with depression, but he said he wouldn’t be able to face the upheaval of the move.

“He was a very gentle, very unassuming and intelligent man, whenever he would come to social events people would always remark what a lovely person he was. He was always extremely memorable.”

Addressing the family, Caroline Beasley-Murray said: “I am going to record the conclusion that Robert Dearlove killed himself. From the evidence of the notes being left and how he was found, there was a degree of planning, and he knew what the outcome would be.

“I again express sympathies to you, he clearly was much loved by his family members and those around him.”