A POPULAR farm worker texted his sister to say he loved her in the hours before he was found dead, an inquest heard.

The tragic death of 26-year-old man Stuart Mark Sim, better known as Stu, sent shockwaves through the community of Haydon Bridge this summer.

His inquest, held at County Hall in Morpeth on December 17 - the day after what would have been Stu's 27th birthday - heard how family members had described him as a troubled soul, but that he did not have any diagnosis of mental health issues.

During the first months of 2020, Stu was described as being more settled by friends.

The court heard that, on the night of July 18, Mr Sim's sister became concerned for his wellbeing after receiving a text from her brother, who had been out drinking at a local pub.

Stu had returned home after the pub and was described as having been drinking, but wasn't drunk. He then left to go to a friend's house.

In the early hours of the morning, he sent a text to his sister that read: "I love you. You've been the best sister ever." After receiving the message, Stu's family contacted the emergency services and a search operation was launched.

His body was found by his employer early the next morning, on the former Langley railway line.

A post-mortem found evidence of death caused by hanging, and a toxicology report found he had high levels of alcohol in his system as well as traces of recreational drugs. The report found that Mr Sim had levels of alcoholic ketoacidosis consistent with fatality.

Senior Coroner Andrew Hetherington, acting senior coroner for South Northumberland, recorded a narrative conclusion.

He said Mr Sim "died as a result of his own actions whilst under the influence of alcohol and drugs".

Anyone who is struggling or needs someone to talk to is urged to call Samaritans on 116 123.

*An earlier version of this story wrongly stated Mr Sim had sent a text message moments before his body was found. The Courant would like to clarify it was in fact several hours. We apologise for any upset or offence this has caused.