A 26-year-old Quarry Bank man killed himself less than an hour after fleeing from a mental hospital, an inquest heard.

Neil Reeves, who lived on Lawnsdowne Road, was found hanged from a tree by a horse rider in Fens Pool Nature Reserve near Russells Hall Hospital shortly after 1.20pm on June 19 last year.

An inquest held at Smethwick Council House this morning heard how the factory worker, who had a history of mental health problems, had earlier escaped from nearby Bushey Fields Hospital where he was being treated for major depressive disorder.

Staff at the psychiatric hospital described how they launched a search of the premises and informed police after he escaped through a fire door at around 12.30pm.

Dr Paul Cullen, consultant psychologist at Bushey Fields, said Mr Reeves had been receiving constant one-on-one observation after he had already twice absconded from the facility after being admitted in late May.

Dr Cullen said: “On the morning of his death he had been extremely agitated.

“He said in fairly blunt terms that he was dead and that he had lost everything.”

The inquest heard he was originally admitted to Bushey Fields after treatment at Russells Hall for injuries sustained while attempting to hang himself at home on May 2.

His mother, Christine Belazejewski, said her son had first been treated for depression shortly after the death of his father aged 11 and was also prescribed medication for a similar condition aged 18.

Recording a verdict of suicide, Black Country Coroner Robin Balmain said staff at Bushey Fields had taken appropriate action after Mr Reeves’ disappearance.

Mr Balmain said: “Mental hospital is not a prison, it is not appropriate it should be treated as a prison.

“There were appropriate one-on-one observations, sufficient that when the problems arose the staff immediately ensured the appropriate action was taken.

“The proper procedure was implemented but Neil seems to have disappeared very quickly.”