A MAN who couldn't face the shame of being caught stealing from his work ended his life with a massive overdose.

William O'Toole, 52, took enough tablets to kill himself several times over, an inquest heard.

Military police officers followed Mr O'Toole home from his work as a kitchen assistant at the Wessex restaurant at RAF Lyneham, after being told by Mr O'Toole's brother that he was stealing food from the officers' mess.

His daughter Donna Savage, of Elm Close Lyneham told the inquest: "Dad was a worrier. He would have worried about what would happen when he went back to work.

"He would have worried about losing his job and his pension and this worry led to his death. He was well known and respected."

Ministry of Defence policeman Detective Sergeant Stephen Knight accompanied by two military police corporals stationed at the base, followed Mr O'Toole home from work.

Sgt Knight said they were hoping to stop and search Mr O'Toole after being tipped-off by his brother Edwin O'Toole.

Sgt Knight said: "Before I said anything to him he said I know why you are here and I have got some stuff in my box.

"He said I have worked there 31 years and now thrown it all away. I feel ashamed. I feel I have let you down.' "

Sgt Knight said he decided not to arrest Mr O'Toole so he did not have to spend the night in a cell. He confiscated the food, including stew, a pie and packets of cooked ham.

Mr O'Toole was found dead by his lodger Leslie Carter the next morning.

Mr Carter, who was friends with Mr O'Toole for 30 years said: "I went in the kitchen and called out, asking if he wanted a cup of tea. I saw him lying on the sofa with froth coming from his mouth. His hands were a blue.

Pathology tests showed Mr O'Toole had taken fatal quantities of paracetemol and codeine.

He had taken more than 15 times the medical dose of paracetemol and more than 10 times the dose of codeine, as well as overdoses of amitriptylene and diamacodeine.

Mr O'Toole's brother Nicholas, said: "I didn't know anything about this betrayal in my family until today. I am disgusted and will be dealing with my brother myself."

Coroner David Masters said: "Here was a man who, I am sure, when he realised the implications of what had happened that night and what was going to happen.

"He was terribly ashamed. He had put more than 30 years of service in jeopardy.

"He had taken such huge excessive levels of tablets I can see no other rational explanation than he tried to kill himself.

"But having said that his mental state may have been such that he wasn't thinking straight."

The coroner revorded a verdict of suicide, while the balance of Mr O'Toole's mind was disturbed.

Leaving the inquest Mr O'Toole's son Liam said: "We are quite satisfied with the verdict and glad it reflected that he wasn't thinking straight at the time."

Donna said: "We love him very much and he will be missed."