A MAN who kept his depression a secret from his brother for 25 years, hanged himself after leaving a note for his family instructing them of which hymns he wanted played at his funeral.

Martin Halstead, 68, was found dead in his home in Accrington on October 13. A plank of wood had been wedged behind the front door.

An inquest in Blackburn heard how Mr Halstead, who lived in Fir Court on Woodside Road, had last been seen on October 9 when he visited his brother to tell him his phone wasn’t working and not to worry if he didn’t get in touch for a few days.

Coroner Richard Taylor said: “His brother, Alan, had no concerns about Martin’s health, but he was aware that Martin had had a problem with alcohol in the past.

“On the morning of October 13, police were contacted by Alan after he was unable to get into Martin’s flat as there was something blocking the front door.

“Police forced entry and found Martin hanging in the doorway of the hall, and a plank of wood wedged behind the front door.”

The inquest was told that Mr Halstead had been a heavy drinker in the past but hadn’t drank alcohol for the last couple of years, although his brother suspected he’d started drinking again in the weeks leading up to his death.

A toxicology report showed there was only traces of antihistamine and a low concentration of alcohol in his system.

A statement from Alan Halstead said he never realised all the problems his brother was keeping quiet about.

Mr Taylor added: “It was only later that his family found out he had suffered from diabetes and dermatitis and had been seeing a psychiatrist since 1995 for depression and alcoholism.

"He had left his medical records out on the side, which his brother believed he wanted him to find.

"As well as notes on his depression, they included details of two assaults on Mr Halstead which his brother was unaware of.”

Alan Halstead said: “I think he had just given up on everyone and everything. He’d never expressed any concerns to me before. It was like he had been living two lives and putting on a face, but when he got behind closed doors maybe things were different, I don’t know.

“He left a note mentioning hymns for his funeral and saying anything he had left I could have.

“He told me about his phone being broken and not to worry if I didn’t hear from him, but by the weekend I thought I’d go round.”

Mr Taylor said: “It seems that he distanced himself after October 9 and it seems there was an element of planning and tidying up at the end of his life.

"I record a conclusion of suicide and say that he took his own life.”

Anyone who may be suffering from mental health problems, or has been affected by this story can call the Samaritans helpline for free on 116 123.