AN ice hockey player was found hanged in a disused mill, an inquest heard.

Robert William Craig, 30, of Edenfield, was found dead by police in apartially derelict and overgrown mill at Rosebank, Ramsbottom, on June 21 last year.

The inquest at Burnley Magistrates’ Court heard Mr Craig had phoned emergency services less than two hours before he died and afterwards received nine calls from police, family and friends who were concerned about his whereabouts.

Two police officers from Greater Manchester Police, who were on patrol, attended the scene where he died and said there was no response from Mr Craig. The coroner said the police would not have prevented his death if they had they arrived earlier because the death occurred in “seconds”.

Royal Blackburn Hospital pathologist Dr Richard Prescott, who carried out a post-mortem examination, said tests showed there were no marks of violence or defence wounds to suggest foul play in relation to his death.

Mr Craig, who grew up in Ramsbottom, had experienced spells of ‘unpredictable’ low moods and depression which became more pronounced after he accidentally hit his head on a goalpost during a hockey game three weeks before he died.

Friends and family were concerned about the former Blackburn Falcons and Wyre Seagullsice hockey player’s mental wellbeing after the accident. On several occasions after the hockey accident friends booked him in for hospital appointments because he had difficulty sleeping and lost appetite, but he chose not to attend them.

Mr Craig’s mother, Pam Hazel, said: “He had bad moods which were quite scary and we did not know what he wanted or intended to do.” His sister, Emma, said he was ‘unpredictable’ when he went into a bad mood.

Mr Craig’s girlfriend, Sadie Alston, who shared a home in Edenfield with him for three years, said his mood spiralled downward days before his death and it wasn’t the first time he had tried to take his own life. The day before Mr Craig died he told his girlfriend to move out of their shared home because he did not want her to live there anymore.

Reading a conclusion that Mr Craig died “in his own hands” from ‘hanging’ and with ‘intent to harm’, coroner James Newman said the call to the emergency services shortly before he died created a ‘kernel of doubt’ over his death and he could not conclude the death was suicide.

In Mr Craig’s memory a charity match at Blackburn Ice Arena between the Seagulls and the Falcons, from 6pm on April 1, will raise money for mental health charities.