“YOU got the separation you wanted - I will always love you and the girls.”

That was the last message sent by a dad-of-two to his partner before he took his life in a Southampton hotel.

Stephen Wheeler was found dead in Travelodge, in Lodge Road.

His death sparked a major response from emergency services and several police cars and fire engines and ambulances were seen at the hotel after his body was discovered.

However, the death was not treated as suspicious according to PC Tim Carey.

The inquest heard that the 48-year-old was likely to have been dead for 24 hours before being found by a cleaner at the hotel on September 8 of last year.

Winchester Coroner’s Court heard how Mr Wheeler was reported missing two days before his death by his family last saw him on September 6.

A statement by his partner Lisa Lawson was read out in the hearing, in it she detailed how they had relationship issues, and she wanted to bring them closer together before the death.

Ms Lawson said: “Our relationship was loving but we had grown apart, communication between us had become even more difficult.“I have started to realise that money was not that important, I was trying to change our lives so we had more time for each other.

“Stephen did not seem able to do this or give anything up which had started to create problems. Although he was never diagnosed with any mental illness I am convinced he was going through some mental breakdown.

“He had always been in good health and never taken time off work and would rarely visit a doctor.”

The inquest heard from two family members who said he was behaving out of character before his death.

A text exchange between Mr Wheeler, from Wilnecote in Tamworth, Staffordshire and Ms Lawson on September 7, was also heard in the inquest.

In it Ms Lawson texted Mr Wheeler: “I said are you there please I love you we have been looking everywhere for you.”

Mr Wheeler replied: “You wanted a separation now you got it - I will always love you and the girls.”

The inquest heard Mr Wheeler booked himself into the hotel on September 6, and he was discovered dead in the bathroom of the hotel room by a cleaner on September 8.

The inquest heard from pathologist Dr Jeffrey Theaker who said the cause of death was asphyxia and Coroner Grahame Short said recorded a suicide verdict.

If you need anyone to talk to, call Samaritans on 116 123, email jo@samaritans.org, or visit your local Samaritans branch.