A BRITISH travel firm boss found hanged in his hotel room in Qatar was detained and tortured when he tried to change jobs a month before his death, an inquest heard.

The family of Marc Bennett, 52, told a coroner he was held for three weeks and tortured after telling his bosses he was leaving.

Marc, from Haywards Heath, was found dead in his room at the Curve Hotel in Doha on Christmas Day, 2019.

The father of three had been arrested in October after announcing he was leaving Qatar Airlines.

A coroner in Chichester said she could not record a conclusion of suicide saying there was no evidence to show an intent to take his own life.

Assistant Coroner Sarah Clarke said: “The circumstances of the month leading up to his death remain unclear.”

The coroner said she was aware the former Tui and Thomas Cook director had been struggling with his mental health because of his detention.

She said: “We know he was in detention for three weeks. We know he went through an ordeal.”

His widow Nancy Bennett said she had lost her husband “decades too early”.

She told the video conference inquest in Chichester: “I’m a widow several decades too early.

“Marc had one goal - to make a better life for his family.

“He was subjected to a living nightmare. He was arrested on baseless charges, locked up and tortured.”

Nancy said there remains no evidence that her husband took his own life.

Colin Whelan, a close friend of Marc and a former police officer, said he believed his friend’s death was a direct result of his mistreatment.

He said: “I’ve never witnessed such a coordinated attempt to prevent us getting answers.

“Who made the allegation which lead to his arrest, who authorised the release and why was no attempt made to keep Marc in the loop?”

He added that there were indications in the hotel room to show Marc was planning for the future.

Colin said: “To this day, I’m very uncomfortable. There were a number of indicators which pointed to future intentions.

“No notes, no electronic communication, that we were told about. The integrity of evidence didn’t seem to be there.

“No sign of a proper search. A haphazard approach to what was seized.

“We, as a family, feel deeply uncomfortable about what happened from the moment he was released to his death.

“We came back with more questions. We feel deeply frustrated. This was a man with a future, goals and plans.”

The inquest heard Mr Bennett was arrested in October 2019 after telling Qatar Airlines he was leaving.

Civil defence officers arrested him, and he was accused of stealing state secrets and endangering the economy.

His passport was seized before he was released on November 10.

A friend who saw him after his detention described him as “shaky, scared, dishevelled and quiet”.

A receptionist at the Curve Hotel found him hanging by a belt from the bathroom door after he did not respond to calls.

Coroner Sarah Clarke said she had not received the kind of information she would normally expect from the authorities in Qatar.

“There are still a lot of unanswered questions.

“We may never find the answers,” the coroner said.

The coroner recorded a narrative conclusion after confirming the cause of death as hanging.