A “LOVING and caring” Hampshire man who struggled to cope with the loss of his benefits went missing just days before winning an appeal to get them back, an inquest heard.

Shaun Talbot spent more than a year relying on the financial support of his mother, following the loss of his Personal Independence Payment.

Struggling to cope, he went missing on September 4 last year.

But between then and his body being found in woodland near Chandler’s Ford nearly three weeks later, he was sent a letter informing him he would be paid the year of lost income.

Following an inquest into his death, his mother Neta said she felt the outcome “may have been different” had he known the outcome sooner.

Winchester Coroner’s Court heard Mr Talbot, described as a “kind, caring and simply loving man”, was found hanged in Hut Wood on September 22.

A post-mortem examination also found potentially fatal levels of amphetamines in his body.

The inquest heard the 51-year-old, of Devon Close, Chandler’s Ford, had been suffering for a number of years with mental health problems, thought to have been contributed to by amphetamine use, and struggling to cope with being adopted as a baby.

However his mother, whom he spent a lot of time with, told the inquest: “It all changed when they stopped his benefits.”

The inquest heard Mr Talbot had his Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – a benefit that helps with the extra costs of a long-term health condition or disability – stopped during 2017, meaning he had to rely on his mother.

Mr Talbot launched an appeal to overturn the decision, but never learnt of its success.

His mother said: “It had already taken a year and he had no idea when the decision would be made. This certainly caused his depression to drastically worsen as he hated having to look to me for any money.”

She added: “We were a great support for each other and I am lost without him.”

On the day he went missing, Mr Talbot had been with friend Dennis Hartley in The Cricketers Arms pub in Eastleigh. Mr Hartley said in a police statement: “He was saying ‘I just feel topping myself’.”

Recording a conclusion of suicide, senior coroner Grahame Short said he believe the issue of his benefits did contribute to his mental state prior to his death, along with his amphetamine use.

He added that he could not be sure when Mr Talbot killed himself, but believed it was more likely to be on September 4, after leaving The Cricketers Arms.