An elderly Witney man pulled from the River Windrush after going missing for nearly three weeks took his own life, a coroner has ruled.
Pensioner Derek West attended a mental health appointment the day before he went missing from his Meadow Lane home last November.
The 78-year-old had a history of depression and suicidal thoughts and sought medical treatment last summer, health professionals told the coroner’s court at County Hall on Thursday last week.
Mr West was reported missing from his home, near the river to the north of the town, on November 22 and his body was discovered nearly three weeks later on December 10.
The inquest heard how the retired supermarket assistant suffered a religious psychotic episode in the months before his death.
The hearing was also told he was sectioned for several weeks in 1977 when he put his hand through a window and was deemed a risk to himself and other people after suffering the episode when he and his wife Hilary lived in London.
Mr West, originally from Southampton, was diagnosed with a delusional disorder in August last year after “a dramatic change in his behaviour,” his GP said.
He also told his GP he believed newspaper and radio headlines contained messages for him.
Mr West, who regularly preached in Witney town centre after claiming God had asked him to spread his message, was referred to mental health specialists for more treatment.
He was prescribed an antipsychotic medicine after a meeting with psychiatrist Dr Megan Theodoulou on August 24 and his diagnosis was later revised to hypermania as part of a psychotic episode.
Dr Theodoulou said that, in the meeting the day before he went missing on November 21, Mr West’s mood was “a little low”.
She added: “Mr West had a vulnerability to psychotic episodes
“[He said he] had given up on God and God had given up on him.
“At the time Mr West had suicidal thoughts, he repeatedly said he did not have the courage to act on them.”
Dr Theodoulou added that “he did not want to discuss it any further” and she did not feel he was in immediate danger.
Mr and Mrs West, married for 45 years, wrapped Christmas presents and went to bed shortly after 10pm on that day. Mrs West phoned the police the next day after she found her husband missing.
His clothes were found the day he went missing neatly folded by the River Windrush and his body was found in the water near the Crawley Mill Industrial Estate by a specialist Oxfordshire Lowland Search and Rescue team (OxSAR).
Oxfordshire assistant coroner Nicholas Graham said the cause of death was drowning and concluded that he took his own life.