A POPULAR Bournemouth bar owner plagued with financial problems died after inhaling carbon monoxide from a makeshift barbecue in his car, an inquest heard.

Paul Kenyon, 37, died shortly after opening the Brix & Co bar in Old Christchurch Road with his best friend Simon Powell.

The bar was not doing as well as they had hoped and Mr Kenyon was being pursued for unpaid bills, the hearing was told.

He was found in his car at the back of the venue in the early hours of November 7, 2013 and pronounced dead at the scene.

A metal bucket of smouldering charcoal briquettes was in the boot and the parcel shelf had been removed. A partially completed newspaper crossword puzzle contained the message “Sorry Simon”, the inquest heard.

Mr Kenyon, of Wimborne Road, had come to Bournemouth a decade ago and was the deputy manager at Elements and the manager of Bliss and Chilli Whites before launching Brix & Co. He also had a spell as the vice chairman of Bournemouth Town Watch.

His mother Kath Connors said he “worked hard, played hard and truly enjoyed life”, while colleague Christopher Leigh described him as “the life and soul of the party”.

But the inquest heard he had experienced problems with depression in the past and had twice attempted to take his own life.

Mr Powell told the inquest Mr Kenyon had been the driving force behind opening Brix & Co and said: “Naively going into our first business we thought it would be easier than it was.

“The financial side was the biggest problem, Paul had trouble coping with the stress that it put on us.”

He urged Mr Kenyon to seek help while he took charge of the business and said Mr Kenyon appeared to be recovering at the time of his death.

Pathologist Dr Wessam Al-Utayem said the cause of death was carbon monoxide poisoning, with a significant condition of cannabis toxicity.

This was originally described as “cannabis overdose” at the opening of the inquest, but Dr Al-Utayem accepted a better term was cannabis toxicity as the cannabis did not contribute to his death but may have affected his reaction to the carbon monoxide poisoning.

Assistant coroner Brendan Allen gave a verdict of suicide.