A MENTALLY ill man who heard voices in his head and frequently spoke casually of suicide took his own life last year, an inquest has found.

Benjamin Fields, 33, suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety and was found dead at his flat in Aymer Road on the morning of August 8 last year.

Brighton and Hove Coroner Kate Palmer told the Woodvale Cemetery inquest on Monday February 20 that she had reached a conclusion that Mr Fields took his own life.

She said that although he had on occasion been overwhelmed by his mental illness, “on this occasion he knew what he was doing”.

The inquest heard that Mr Fields had been found dead of asphyxiation with a plastic bag over his head in a chair in his home by social workers who called on him after he missed a hospital appointment.

Ms Palmer said there was no sign of disturbance or suspicious circumstances, and that she was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the death was a deliberate act carried out by Mr Fields.

Mr Fields had been diagnosed with clinical depression in 2007 and with paranoid schizophrenia in 2015. He was admitted to Mill View psychiatric hospital in that year but discharged in the November.

He attended hospital to receive a regular injection of the anti-psychotic drug olanzapine which improved his condition, but said he continued to hear voices.

On Friday, August 4 he missed an appointment, at which he was also due to meet with David Foley, a support worker at the Route One project of the Brighton Housing Trust’, and Lew Cope, a pyschiatric nurse with the assertive outreach programme at Brighton General hospital.

The inquest heard it was not unheard of for Mr Fields to miss such an appointment by a day or two, but over that weekend Mr Foley tried to make contact with Mr Fields without success.

On the Monday he went to Mr Fields supported-living flat and pressed the buzzer but received no reply. On the Tuesday morning he and Mr Cope entered the property to find Mr Fields dead. Mr Cope told the inquest that Mr Fields regularly spoke casually of suicide.

He said: “You’d say goodbye and he would say ‘you know I’ll probably take my own life.’ He said it as casually as you’d exchange a greeting.”

But, Mr Cope said that in his estimation nothing could have been done differently or added to Mr Fields’ treatment to have prevented this outcome.

Mr Field’s brother Sam, 27, said: “Ben was someone who had fallen through the cracks.

“He was so lost.

“Other than keeping him under constant surveillance I don't know what could have been done.”