A KEEN sportsman who suffered from depression killed himself on Christmas Eve, Worcestershire Coroners Court heard.

An inquest into the death of Nathan Tomkins, 22, heard he was found hanged in a shed at home in Earls Croome, near Upton, on December 24 last year.

Worcestershire coroner, Geraint Williams, read out parts of a statement from Mr Tomkins’ father, Robin, during the hearing yesterday (Wednesday).

Mr Tomkins described how for a period his son had become withdrawn, spending more time in his room and not socialising, and he had found it difficult to talk.

On Christmas Eve, he had returned to the family home after going out and gone to his room.

Mr Tomkins later went to check on his son but found he was not in his room, so went looking for him. He noticed a light in the shed and found Mr Tomkins inside.

He could not be saved, despite attempts to resuscitate him.

Mr Tomkin’s brother, Matthew, also provided a statement to the coroners court.

He said Mr Tomkins had revealed to him he had been the victim of an assault in the past, which had caused him extreme distress. On Christmas Eve night he had been out with his brother, “drinking, socialising, singing, and having a good time”.

At one point in the night, Nathan was slapped by a friend.

His mood later changed, his brother said, and he was “clearly upset”.

Mr Williams said the historical assault and being slapped had caused Mr Tomkins upset, added to which he had consumed alcohol. He recorded a verdict Mr Tomkins hanged himself, and offered condolences to the family.

Mr Tomkins, known as ‘Tank’, was a keen sportsman and played for Upton Rugby Club.

He was a former pupil of Hanley Castle High School, near Upton, where students have been raising funds and awareness for mental health in his memory.

His family has set up the Nathan Tomkins Trust in his memory, to raise money for and awareness of mental illness.

Speaking at an event held at Hanley Castle High in Mr Tomkins’ memory in March, Matthew Tomkins said the trust aims to help others in the same position.

“There are always people there to listen,” he said. “It is about making people see it is not bad to talk about, because if you don’t it is a matter of life and death.”

Describing his brother, he said: “He knew everybody, whether you were one month old or 100-years-old, he knew how to make you happy. [He had a] big smile, he could make people laugh.”

After the inquest, Robin Tomkins said what took place had been a “tragedy”.