A sports-loving community worker left wheelchair-bound in a vicious attack took his own life after bravely battling his condition for six years.

Kevin Mulligan, 25, was paralysed when he was stabbed in the neck outside a pub.

His injuries robbed him of the ability to move and, later, the will to live, an inquest at Brighton Magistrates Court was told yesterday.

Mr Mulligan was found hanging from a balcony by a neighbour in Saunders Park House, Hollingdean Road, Brighton, on February 26.

Police discovered a notebook lying open in his flat. In it he had written a suicide note.

Mr Mulligan, who played basketball and had become a mentor at Varndean School, planned to become a volunteer with the city's youth offending team.

But the inquest heard he never recovered from the mental scars of the attack in August, 1996.

He was paraplegic and used a wheelchair, although he could walk a few paces with the aid of crutches.

Mr Mulligan had spoken to a friends about ending his life and told them he had looked on the internet at methods of suicide, the court was told.

A close friend, Alex Cotter, of St John's Place, Brighton, told the hearing Mr Mulligan put on a brave face but had never come to terms with the consequences of his injuries.

Peter Yates, a community support worker with Addaction, said Mr Mulligan had told him he felt depressed but at the same time he seemed motivated to change his life.

Mr Yates told the hearing it was a tremendous shock to hear Mr Mulligan had died.

He said: "Although he did mention times of depression, the overriding feeling I got from him was one of optimism. He had goals and ambition."

Brighton and Hove Coroner Veronica Hamilton-Deeley recorded a verdict of suicide.

She told the hearing: "Kevin struggled manfully with having to live as he did. He undertook a great deal of voluntary work because he wanted to try to use what happened to him to help other people.

"It is not a bit surprising he had problems coping.

"He sounds as if he was a super chap and you should remember him for his bravery and the things he achieved despite the appalling difficulties he tried to overcome."

After the hearing Mr Mulligan's father, also called Kevin, said: "He was fantastic."