Tributes have been paid to a “larger than life” man at an inquest into his death in Andover.

Anthony Stephen Martin was found dead on May 7 2020 following concerns for his welfare after he failed to respond to messages from family.

The 51-year-old had been “suffering from depression for a long time” following the breakup of a relationship in 2014, which had caused “emotional and financial stresses.” He was also suffering from back pain, having undergone surgery.

His sister Claire Sheerin telling the inquest that “he really started to struggle” as the country went into lockdown, with Coroner Christopher Wilkinson saying that he believed Anthony had spent “more time ruminating over the same depressive thought processes.”

As a result, Claire had been messaging him with pictures and conversations over lockdown. A few weeks before his death, Anthony had accidentally sent her an image of an attempt at taking his own life, which led her to ask him to move in with her.

However, he said he had drunk “30 cans of lager” that evening, and the next morning said he was feeling better. He subsequently booked an appointment at a mental health service for May 6.

Anthony never attended the appointment, and did not respond to his sister’s messages. As a result, Claire called the police to his flat in Bentall Place on May 7.

There, officers tried calling Anthony, with officers hearing his phone ringing inside the property. They subsequently broke the lock on the door to gain access, where they found his body “cold to the touch and with no pulse.”

A subsequent post-mortem noted that there were ligature marks on his body, and that his blood alcohol level was 4.3 times the driving limit.

Anthony’s mother, Sue, said that her son was a “joker” and “filled a room when he came into it.” However, she added that the last few years for him had been “very difficult,” and despite his outward demeanour, “he had his dark days.”

Making his verdict, the Coroner said that he believed Anthony had died on Tuesday, May 5, with neighbours not having seen him for 48 hours prior to his death.

A verdict of suicide was declared.

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