A SOLICITOR from Brent Knoll took his own life after being accused of negligence by a client, an inquest has heard.

Thomas John Hooper hanged himself from a beam at his cottage in Brent Street just days before Christmas last year.

The 56-year-old, who worked for a Weston law firm, was later found to have acted correctly during the sale of a building, but West Somerset coroner Michael Rose said the accusation affected him and on the day he died "something snapped".

He said: "This is a tragic story about someone who was very conscientious to people he knew and at work.

"Unfortunately we live now in a very contentious age. The consequences have enormous effects on somebody who is almost a friend - you value their opinions.

"The accusation was ill founded. He was going through a period of depression and that would not have made him take the actions he did but adding to the problem was enough.

"On that day, something snapped. If these events hadn't happened all together, he would be alive today."

John, as his family knew him, had a history of depression dating back to 1969 when he was still at school. However, his partner Caroline Dear said she never expected him to do what he did.

She told the court that on the morning of his death, she knew he was feeling low.

"I shouted goodbye but he didn't answer me. This was fairly common, depending on the way he was feeling," she said.

"At no point had he reached the point of suicide - we had made plans for the future.

"I have known John since we were at school together.

"Over the years I have been told he suffered from depression. He was not on any medication at this time."

Mr Hooper's daughter Rebecca described what happened on December 21.

She said: "I got a phone call saying that he had not arrived a work.

"I got to the house and began shouting his name but with no reply.

"I went into the front room and he was hanging from an exposed beam in the front room. I started screaming and ran out of the house."

The coroner's verdict was that Mr Hooper took his own life while the balance of his mind was disturbed.