TRIBUTES have been paid to a “perfectionist” Hampshire vet who took her own life using an animal anaesthetic after problems at work.

Rita Mesquita, 33, gave herself a massive dose of a sedative she had taken from Seadown Veterinary Services in Frost Lane, Hythe, where she worked.

Last July she was found dead by veterinary nurse Caroline Cross at the home they shared in Dibden Purlieu.

Giving evidence at Winchester Coroner’s Court Ms Cross described Rita as a perfectionist who often continued working even after she had finished her shift.

But Rita feared she was failing a course and was also worried about a consultation with a client which had gone badly, she said.

Describing Rita as “one of the most amazing vets I’ve ever worked with” Ms Cross said her colleague was also “really vulnerable”.

Assistant coroner Sam Marsh ruled that the vet took her own life after fighting a long battle with mental illness.

In a statement Seadown said: “Rita proved herself to be conscientious, loyal, committed and caring. She had excellent clinical standards and was highly ambitious.

“As well as being a very talented veterinary surgeon who was loved by her colleagues and clients, Rita had a big personality and a real zest for life.

“When she wasn’t working Rita had an adventurous spirit which took her up mountains, into the air and even under the sea.

“Her boundless love of life included her blue BMW motorbike, which was her real pride and joy. She used it to explore the New Forest, visit her sister and four nephews in Devon and would think nothing of driving across Europe to Portugal to visit her mother and father.”

The statement described Rita as a “unique” human being.

It added: “In many ways words don’t do justice to the size of her personality or the size of her heart, which had an endless capacity for love for her family, friends and colleagues but also for the animals she so lovingly cared for.

“Her sudden and unexpected death remains a huge and tragic loss but the memory of her smile, her laugh and her capacity for life will never be forgotten.

“It’s testament to the huge affection people felt for her that hundreds of tributes were paid to Rita on social media at the time of her death.”