THE body of a man who suffered with depression was found in his burned-out car, an inquest has heard.

Sammi Miers, who had previously volunteered for the Samaritans, set fire to his Vauxhall Adam in a New Forest car park in September last year.

The vehicle exploded and Mr Miers died of extensive burns.

Friends and family of the 33-year-old say he was "cheerful and upbeat" in the hours before his death.

He had consumed alcohol, cocaine and ecstasy at some point before he started the fire in the Burbush car park in Burley Road.

A coroner heard Mr Miers had ordered a large bouquet of roses for his husband Phil, which arrived as his family were informed he had died.

A card attached to the roses read: "I'm sorry."

Phil Miers, 43, said he had left Mr Miers sleeping in their home in Oakwood Drive, Lordswood on September 11 and gone to work.

When he returned at 5pm, Mr Miers wasn't at home and had not left any messages.

DC Lee Murden, of Hampshire police, said Mr Miers had been captured on CCTV at a petrol station filling up his car and a petrol can, and buying a bottle of wine.

He then drove to see friend Jason Pink in Bournemouth.

Mr Pink said Mr Miers, a recruitment engagement officer who worked with young adults as part of the national citizenship scheme, had been "cheerful".

Mr Miers then drove to the car park, arriving at around 7.30pm. Just after midnight Patrick Willmott, a resident in nearby Pound Lane, said he heard a loud bang that shook the doors and windows of his flat.

A post mortem revealed that Mr Miers, whose body was discovered on the morning of September 12, had died of extensive burns.

David Lock, fire investigator at Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, ruled out foul play and said Mr Miers had deliberately started the fire that caused the car to explode.

Coroner Grahame Short said: “It remains unclear why he would take such a drastic step.

"But I do believe it was a result of the depression and the realisation that it was never going to get better.”

Mr Short concluded that Mr Miers's death was the result of suicide.

Phil Miers paid tribute to his husband, saying: “Sammi’s death has hit the family and myself hard. He was the life of the party, was always smiling, could strike a friendship with total strangers, and was hopeless with his driving.

“Everyone had such great things to say about him, from friends, colleagues and even the schools and colleges he worked with. Nothing would get in his way for a good time and a laugh.”