RELATIVES of a depressed man believe he took his life because of a long and acrimonious battle over the custody of his daughter.

Keith Werb hanged himself at his house in Valentinus Crescent, Colchester, an inquest heard.

Tina Harrington, assistant deputy coroner, was told the 57-year-old’s mental health had deteriorated following the break-up of the relationship with his partner in 1998.

A long legal battle, which went as far as the Court of Appeal in London, followed over custody of their daughter Emily.

In 2002, after Mr Werb was granted custody of the then four-year-old child, who he said he had only seen for 18 hours in the previous 18 months, his ex-partner went on the run with her.

She was returned to her father after three weeks.

Mr Werb, a father-of-two, was found dead at his house on May 6, last year.

He left letters to his partner, relatives and children and a police investigation found no evidence of suspicious circumstances.

A post-mortem examination concluded he died of hanging. Toxicology tests found no drugs or alcohol in his system.

The hearing was told Mr Werb had been suffering financial difficulties and a report from his GP said he had stopped taking anti-depressant medication.

Ms Harrington recorded a verdict of suicide. She said: “The family believe the litigation and the acrimonious situation resulted in his depressive illness.”