A DEVIZES man whose body was found in a canal intended to kill himself, an inquest has ruled.

A waterway worker found the body of Eric George Gillett, who lived in Mayenne Place, in lock 43 of the Caen Hill Locks at 8am on July 31 last year, Wiltshire and Swindon Coroner's Court in Salisbury heard.

The worker also discovered a pile of folded clothes by the side of the canal with a set of keys placed on top of them.

Dr Matthew Flynn, Senior Pathologist at Salisbury District Hospital, told the inquest there was nothing unusual in the toxicology report and that evidence pointed towards death by immersion in water, although whether it was by drowning or a cardiac arrhythmia was not able to be ascertained.

Mr Gillett, 74, had battled with mental health issues for a number of years which included anxiety and depression that were apparently reignited with the death of his mother and brother in the late 1980s.

In a statement read out to court, his daughter Susan Matthews said: “In the last few months before he died, his mental health deteriorated. He was constantly worrying that he didn’t have enough clothes.

“He talked more and more about not being able to sleep at night and that he was laying down staring at the ceiling.”

Despite being separated from his wife, Mr Gillett remained close with his family and the court heard how he cried when his daughter told him that his wife had died.

Her statement continued: “Dad was found in the canal but he couldn’t swim – in fact none of our family can. His body was found near to the tenth anniversary of my mother’s death which I think had a significant bearing on his death.”

David Ridley, Wiltshire and Swindon Coroner, concluded that Mr Gillett died after he went into the canal and his immersion in the water.

He said: “The police said there were no suspicious circumstances and the only reasonable conclusion, taking into account the clothes left on the side neatly folded is that he died in an action initiated by himself and that it did result in his death, as confirmed by Dr Flynn.

“I have seen a note left at his home and looking at the circumstances at how his clothes were found, and that because of his anxiety he was not sleeping well, he did intend to take his own life by climbing into the lock.

“I give my sincere condolences to his family and friends.”