A MAN drove to the New Forest and killed himself after being accused of a historic sex offence, an inquest heard.

Patrick Healey was found hanged in Hawkhill Inclosure, between Beaulieu and Brockenhurst, by a dog walker on the morning of Sunday, July 3 2016.

The inquest, which was held this week, heard Mr Healey had driven to Hampshire from his Berkshire home after telling his partner Stephen Brandon he needed to clear his head.

Mr Brandon, who had been with Mr Healey for more than 20 years, added the 50-year-old "was never the same" after being attacked in Maidenhead around eight years before his death and had seen a doctor for depression.

Winchester Coroner's Court heard Mr Healey was found with a suicide note, in which he denied the accusations made against him. DC Ross Fleming, of Thames Valley Police, added they had not spoken to Mr Healey before his death.

Recording a conclusion of suicide, senior coroner Grahame Short said he believed the allegations against Mr Healey were "the catalyst" for his death, but said: "I make no finding of whether or not [the allegation] was true."

He added he could not be sure when Mr Healey died, other than sometime between 9.15pm on June 30 2016 when he last spoke to his partner, and 10.10am on July 3 2016 when his body was found.

Mr Short said at the outset that he would not be going into the reasons for the delay in holding the inquest.