A doctor took his own life after suffering with depression and convincing himself he had a serious physical illness, an inquest heard.

Dr Adrian Clifford - a former GP at the Bank Street surgery in Keswick - died on September 18, 2017.

Cockermouth Coroners Court heard he had suffered with depression for a long time and had been taking anti-depressants for around 20 years.

A statement was read out on behalf of his wife Susan which said being a GP was very demanding but Dr Clifford always tried to do the best he could. He had retired early due to his depression.

He enjoyed outdoor activities, including mountain climbing, running and cycling, which would help lift his mood. He was also a former member of Keswick Mountain Rescue.

In March 2017 Dr Clifford had stopped taking the anti-depressant Citalopram after running out of the drug while on a climbing holiday in Scotland - unbeknown to his family.

Around the same time he also began suffering with sensory neuropathy in his feet which triggered anxiety that he had Motor Neurone Disease.

His wife said he became "very preoccupied" about it and sought private medical investigations because he was so anxious.

Mrs Clifford said her husband could not have lived with any infirmity.

She said she also believed he was worried about the stigma of mental health and some of his closest friends were unaware he suffered with depression.

Dr Clifford had been receiving support from the Crisis and Resolution Home Treatment Team in the months leading up to his death.

Barbara Slater from the Home Treatment Team said he was fixated on his physical health.

Coroner Dr Nick Shaw said: "He is catastrophising. This is what he has done. He was worried about Motor Neurone Disease.

"Not just seeing everything as half empty but totally empty."

Dr Shaw said a post mortem report showed he was "exceptionally normal" for a man of his age and he was in really good condition.

Dr Clifford was found hanged in his garden.The coroner concluded that he had died by suicide.

"This is such a sad case. He was clearly an outdoors man, a fells man, very physically active, equally troubled over the years by depression since he was a medical student. Medicine is a stressful occupation. I suspect he was someone who didn't show it but he did take treatment for a long time.

"Maybe he thought he no longer needed it now he was retired. Two or three months after he stopped things started to go wrong.

"He was a gentleman who was very fit. He could still go out and ride his bike for over an hour. Nothing could convince him that he wasn't physically well. That was due to the depression.

"I find no criticism of the mental health services. It's difficult looking after doctors. They are very very bad patients.

"Ultimately for whatever reason on that final day something just clicked and he put his thoughts into action. I don't think it was predictable.

"There's no other appropriate conclusion. Adrian took his own life as a result of depression and ongoing worries about his physical state of health.

"It's just a very sad case for a gentleman who as a doctor looked after the community well that his depressive illness should catch up with him at a time in retirement when he should have been taking a well-earned rest. He should still be up on the hills somewhere."

Dr Clifford was born in Coventry in 1955. He studied medicine at Edinburgh University. He married his wife, Susan in 1984 and they had two daughters Amie and Sarah. They later moved to Keswick and Dr Clifford practiced at the Bank Street Surgery until he retired in 2013.