A ROOFER found a man lying dead in his top floor flat after spotting him through the window from scaffolding.

Douglas White, 45, was lying collapsed in his living room at the flat in Belgrave Place, Brighton.

Matthew Citrone was working on the skylight of the building when he saw Mr White and called 999.

Mr White, known as Dougie, had been dead for some hours by the time he was discovered.

A pathologist could find no obvious cause and his death on July 17 remains a mystery.

Mr White lived alone, an inquest into his death was told on Monday.

The out-of-work chef’s GP Rachel McPherson was one of those who knew him best.

She said the last time she saw him he seemed “the best he had ever been”.

Dr McPherson told the inquest at Brighton Coroner’s Court: “He was very gentle and quite sensitive.

“He did have chronic suicidal ideation.

“He told me [previously] he had tried to kill himself a few times. He had taken overdoses and slit his wrists, but had given up trying.

“He felt he was better off dead but had given up trying.”

Consultant pathologist David Wright said he was unable to find any conclusive cause of death.

Dr Wright found traces of codeine, morphine, paracetamol and cannabis in his system but was unable to determine whether any of them had caused his death – and he showed none of the normal physical symptoms of an overdose.

Mr Citrone, director of Citrone Roofing Co, said he had met Mr White when they started work on the building earlier that week.

He said he arrived at the site at about 9.30am on July 17.

He said: “I went up the scaffolding and asked one of the lads if we had any power yet.

“I looked through the living room window and saw a male lying on the floor. He was lying naked with everything showing.

“I thought he had just passed out drunk and I banged on the window to try and stir him.

“Then I noticed his body was in a strange position.

“His legs were facing me and one was on the wall. It struck me something didn’t look right.

“I called one of the lads over. He looked and said ‘he’s dead’.

“I called 999 and officers and ambulance arrived about 20 minutes later.

“We managed to jar open the kitchen window so the officer could climb in and he let the ambulance crew in.

“I was a bit shaken and affected by it in the days that followed.”

Assistant coroner Kate Palmer said she was unable to conclusively say how Mr White had died.

She said: “It is quite clear Dougie suffered at one time and another with chronic suicidal thoughts, but he had not acted on them for some time and he had good support networks.

“He had a good relationship with his GP and he knew he could turn to her for help.

“It’s speculative that he might have taken his own life, but the evidence just doesn’t support it.

“Because there is absolutely nothing I can put my finger on, an open conclusion is the only one I can make.”

She recorded an open verdict.