A KENDAL man who took a fatal overdose claimed he was being bullied by a colleague in the RAF, an inquest has heard.

Roy Johnson, 57, made the claims to medics at Westmorland General Hospital after he was admitted last year following an overdose of prescribed medication.

"He said he'd been bullied at work," said Karen Robinson, a nurse clinician at the site's Primary Care Assessment unit, where Mr Johnson was initially treated.

"He told me that he'd taken the tablets while he was driving to work.

"He said he'd pulled into a lay-by and had taken them in the hope he'd just fall asleep so someone would take him back home, and he wouldn't have to go to work."

His claims came after he had been on an extended period of leave from his job as an agitant at RAF Woodvale, Southport - the latter part of which he had concealed from his family.

The inquest, held on the anniversary of his death, heard he had initially been on sick leave between May and July, and during that time his colleagues discovered issues with his management of the squadron's accounts, an on-call allowance he had claimed for, the fact he had not paid for accommodation at the mess and whether he was correctly recording his leave.

On July 24 he returned to work and had a meeting with his squadron leader, Nigel Edwards, about the issues raised.

“He seemed resigned," said Squadron Leader Edwards. "I think he was in a very bad place and he had the air of someone who sees something as inevitable.”

However, Mr Johnson, of Birch Yard, Stricklandgate, later told his wife, Lynn Johnson, that Squadron Leader Edwards had 'sat at his desk talking of the things he'd done wrong' - but that it wasn't worth going to HR because the squadron would 'pull rank'.

The inquest also heard Mr Johnson had not been allowed to take a 'companion' to the meeting with him.

But Squadron Leader Edwards denied bullying Mr Johnson.

"I could never put up with it in any form so to hear that I was bring accused of bullying him - I couldn't believe it," he said.

"Roy was a friend of mine. We weren't adversaries."

The following day Mr Johnson returned to work briefly, before breaking down 'weeping and sobbing'.

He was signed off work with stress on the same day.

What happened in the following weeks was a 'little hazy', said coroner, Ian Smith, although it appeared Mr Johnson's family believed he was going to work.

On September 23 his wife found him vomiting and the following day took him to Westmorland General. He was transferred to Furness General Hospital where he died of cirrhosis of the liver on September 30.

Mr Smith concluded: “Roy Johnson died from a self-administered overdose of medication when suffering from extreme stress.”