A well-known former councillor drowned himself in the sea after writing notes to family and friends.

Edward Thomas Furey's body was found on the Brighton shoreline near the Concorde 2 nightclub by a dog walker on April 29 at about 7am.

The 72-year-old, who was known as Ted, lived alone in Burlington Street, Kemp Town, Brighton. He was a Labour councillor on East Sussex County Council in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

An inquest at Brighton County Court yesterday heard Mr Furey, whose birthday would have been today, is believed to have been in the water for between three and five hours.

He had no identification on him but at about 8pm on April 29 his friend Elizabeth Fletcher called police to tell them she and his wife Sarah Furey, from whom he was separated, had found suicide notes at his flat.

When police attended they found notes written on April 28 to Mrs Furey and Mrs Fletcher and one to each of Mr Furey's children.

Several items were also in carrier bags with instructions about where they should go.

Mr Furey, who was born in Cairo, Egypt, was very active in the community.

He was assistant secretary of Brighton East Rotary Club and a member of Brighton Jazz Club and the Silver Sounds samba band.

He also helped organise Kemp Town Carnival and Kemp Town in Bloom and helped reform the Clarion Club cycling group in 2004.

Although he was on a waiting list for a knee joint replacement and had recently had surgery to remove a malignant tumour from his throat, both his psychiatrist Dr Christopher Aldridge and GP Dr Linda Allenby said they had seen no signs of depression when he had visited them.

However Mrs Fletcher had noticed he seemed depressed when she saw him two days earlier.

Brighton and Hove coroner Veronica Hamilton-Deeley said: "I suspect, from what I have heard about Edward, he found this type of thing quite hard to cope with.

"I suspect he was used to being a very able man and was used to doing what he wanted."

A report by pathologist Dr Mara Quante, who examined Mr Furey's body, said her findings were consistent with drowning in salt water and no natural causes contributed to his death.

Miss Hamilton-Deeley said: "I am quite sure his intention was to drown himself and sadly from your point of view he succeeded in that.

"It is very hard to come to terms with someone dying in this way but sometimes you have to bow to the fact that they made a decision.

"Edward did take his own life.

"He was a man blessed with many friends who he loved and who loved him and there have been many tributes to him."