A RETIRED police officer who was found dead on Boxing Day on a footpath in Ross-on-Wye had a mental health disorder, an inquest heard.

Stephen Phillips of Chase Road, Ross was found at 8.20am adjacent to the swimming pool in Brookend Street.

The inquest at Herefordshire Coroner’s Court heard he died from a ligature around his neck on the day of his 56th birthday.

Mr Phillips had been diagnosed with depersonalisation-derealisation disorder and was receiving care from 2gether NHS Foundation Trust at The Knoll in Ross.

He had been diagnosed with epilepsy in 1998 and struggled to come to terms with this, and had also experienced traumatic events during his life.

He was a Metropolitan police officer before he was medically retired. His family then decided to move to Ross.

Coroner Mark Bricknell said: "Some of the evidence I have seen suggests he did perhaps hear voices and so I will find, because I cannot be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt he intended to take his own life, an open verdict."