A STRESSED pub manager hanged himself while his staff continued to serve customers downstairs.
Paul Cornfoot, 44, was found hanging from a doorframe at the Barge pub in Castlefields, Runcorn, by two part-time barmaids after he failed to return to the bar to cash-up the night's takings.
An inquest at Warrington heard that Mr Cornfoot had planned to leave the pub trade but had killed himself two days before Christmas last year after becoming stressed by long hours and being separated from his wife Mykila.
Mr Cornfoot had gone upstairs to the flat above the pub for a rest but barmaids Suzanne Matthews and Donna Johnson became worried when he failed to come back to the bar after closing time.
They went up to the flat, with pub owner Michael O'Hare, and discovered Mr Cornfoot hanging from a dressing gown cord.
They fought unsuccessfully to save his life. Ms Matthews told the hearing: 'Paul seemed to be in good spirits when I last saw him at 10.30pm. 'When he didn't come downstairs, we tried his mobile but got no reply. We went to the flat and searched room to room and found him in the living room slouched against the door. Something was around his neck and looped over the top of the door.'
Student nurse Mykila Cornfoot, who sobbed throughout the hearing, said her husband had suffered stress as a result of the long hours he had to work at the pub.
She said: 'He had been a landlord for about a year but he started to find the work stressful and it began to get him down. He was planning to leave at Christmas.
'He rang me that night and he seemed OK. I never thought he would ever harm himself. He was never depressed that I noticed but he was the kind of person who would bottle up their troubles.'
A post-mortem examination revealed that Mr Cornfoot had a blood alcohol level more than five times the drink drive limit.
Cheshire coroner Nicholas Rheinberg recorded a verdict that Mr Cornfoot had taken his own life.