A CORONER has called on men experiencing stress and mental health issues to open up following the death of a well-known businessman.

An inquest heard that Colin Cropley, who ran wine and spirits business The Porterage Co., was found dead at home having been experiencing stress running the company.

Dr Nicholas Shaw, who led the hearing, called on people to speak up and seek help in the wake of his death.

The hearing at Cockermouth Coroner's Court was told how father-of-three Mr Cropley died aged 42 at his home in Stainton on August 3 last year.

Police were called to the house at around 7am and, having searched the house, found Mr Cropley in the garden.

Officers found his wife Judith administering CPR on Mr Cropley and took over until paramedics arrived on the scene, the inquest heard.

The court was told Mrs Cropley told officers that her husband had been under stress with the business and was due to attend an important meeting later that day.

A toxicology report found a trace amount of cannabis in his system. The medical cause of death was diagnosed as hanging.

The inquest heard Mr Cropley had slept on the sofa the previous night and was last seen alive at around 10pm.

In a statement Mrs Cropley said: "He was first and always a family man.

"Nothing was too much trouble regarding his family and friends.

"His death will always be a mistake and a tremendous tragedy and loss."

The inquest heard that Mr Cropley had sought for medical help in the past to cope with low-mood and suicidal thoughts.

His GP, Dr Phil Edwards of Haverthwaite Surgery, said Mr Cropley had finished a course of medication in 2013 and had not reported any mental health issues since.

The well-respected wine merchant set up The Porterage Co in 2010, which has stores in Windermere and Greenodd, and had previously worked for Classic Drinks and Coca Cola.

The inquest heard he also served as an air engineer mechanic in the Royal Navy from 1991 to 1998.

He and his family owned the Armadale Hotel at Arrad Foot from 2003 until they sold it in 2013.

Summing up, Dr Shaw sent a message to people struggling with mental health issues.

He said: "Men often keep things to themselves when they are much better off talking about it.

"We think it often as a sign of weakness.

"It's a story that's replayed over and over - I just wish people would say something.

"One in three of us is going to have a significant bout of depression in our lives - we should not be ashamed to ask for advice or even a caring shoulder."

Dr Shaw reached a conclusion of suicide, accepting Mr Cropley may have taken his own life while experiencing stress from running the business.

"Perhaps troubled by the business, he took his own life," the coroner said.

The Samaritans can be reached for help on 116 123.

Mental health charity Mind is available on 0300 123 3393.