A BOXER took his own life after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Popular John Stuart Whittam, who lived with two of his three brothers in Kimberley Road, Southbourne, began suffering with manic episodes in the summer of 2017.

In August, he was found in the sea off Boscombe. He later told doctors he believed his mother was in the water.

Despite "positive" work with mental health care teams, Mr Whittam, 31, was found hanged at his home on Monday, November 6.

At an inquest into his death on Wednesday, assistant coroner Brendan Allen heard "kind, fun-loving and hard-working" Mr Whittam had been forced to stop boxing competitively in 2011 after suffering a bleed to the brain in sparring training.

However, he continued working as a boxing and kickboxing coach.

His sister-in-law Helen Whittam said Mr Whittam had previously had difficulties with alcohol abuse and gambling. He would sometimes make £20,000, only to lose it, she said.

"He worried about girlfriends - he wanted to have a baby and thought he was getting too old," she said.

"He wasn't getting too old obviously, but he would say things like that."

Mr Whittam's family became concerned about his mental health at a barbecue last summer when he showed "erratic" behaviour, she said.

Sometime after that, he was found in the sea by police in the early hours of the morning.

"He thought he had seen his mum in the water and he had taken his clothes off and gone into the sea," Mrs Whittam said.

With support from mental health services, Mr Whittam's psychosis passed, although he remained depressed, it was heard.

He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder shortly before his death. On November 5, the day before his body was found, he told Mrs Whittam: "I had more fun before I was diagnosed. This is rubbish."

After he missed an appointment with his concerned care co-ordinator, two of his brothers went to the house in Kimberley Road, where his body was discovered.

A suicide note was discovered below a pile of papers in a drawer. It was not found on an initial search of the property, and police returned to complete a more thorough check.

Mr Allen said a toxicological analysis showed Mr Whittam had been taking prescribed medication, including anti-depressants.

There was no alcohol in his blood at the time of his death.

The coroner said the cause of Mr Whittam's death was hanging, and recorded a conclusion of suicide.