A KIDDERMINSTER store boss who was found hanged in woods after being missing for more than a month had suffered from long-term mental health issues, an inquest heard.

Matthew Gill was discovered in woods off Prestwood Drive in Stourbridge on November 26 last year following an “unprecedented” search operation coordinated by his family and friends after his disappearance more than a month earlier.

A hearing at Cannock Coroners Court on March 6 was told 43-year-old Mr Gill had struggled to cope with the death of his father and had been prescribed anti-depression tablets in 2001 for the stress he suffered.

The court also heard he was working at B&Q in Kidderminster where he had been one of a number of staff subject to a health and safety investigation after a member of the public was involved in a minor accident.

But, while giving evidence, DS Andrew Padmore said: “My judgement is that he was not involved and would never have been prosecuted.”

He added: “His mum was moving to Abergavenny and the family home was to be sold, this would be a break from his childhood."

DS Padmore also praised the efforts of the huge campaign that was launched to try to find him following his disappearance.

He said: “It was an unprecedented effort on social media, they got boots on the ground, bought a drone and used a light aircraft.

"His family and friends used many innovative ways and printed thousands of leaflets, nobody could have done any more."

South Staffordshire senior coroner Andrew Haigh also commended the family for their efforts during the search as he concluded the cause of death was hanging and Mr Gill committed suicide while suffering from anxiety and depression.

Mr Gill was last seen at his home at 9am and left in his distinctive roadster type car which was recorded on CCTV shortly after near the Stewponey junction on the A449.

The car was next identified on CCTV from a bin lorry at 2pm the same day at Petzone in Prestwood where it had been abandoned.

Police began a major search operation and received a number of reported sightings which are now believed to be false.

Searchers also got a boost when Mr Gill's mobile phone reactivated on October 19, however they were only able to pinpoint its location to within four-and-a-half miles.

The phone was later discovered with Mr Gill's body and police believe it reactivated after getting wet or possibly if the body shifted it was switched on by the movement.

The search ended when Mr Gill's body was spotted by a teenage girl whose parents contacted police, the inquest heard the remains would have been difficult to see behind small trees until they shed their leaves as autumn set in.

Due to the condition of the remains, police concluded Mr Gill died on the same day he disappeared.