WRITER Thomas Wallace booked himself into a room at the New County Hotel in Gloucester before cutting his own throat, an inquest has heard.

Hours before he checked into the hotel in Southgate Street, he had told staff at mental hospital at Wotton Lawn, Gloucester, where he was being treated, that he was going for a stroll - but he did not return.

He had been admitted to the pyschiatric hospital after a suicide attempt the month before, the inquest at Gloucester's Shire Hall heard.

Mr Wallace, 62, known as Albert, of Turville Barns, Eastleach, had a history of alcohol abuse and depression, the court heard.

Gloucestershire coroner Alan Crickmore recorded a verdict of suicide.

Helen Meadows, senior receptionist at the New County hotal, said she started work on Friday May 4 last year and discovered a man called Albert Wallace had checked in the day before and paid for one night.

When he did not check out at 11am, she said, she contacted housekeeping staff who said they had tried already tried to enter the room but failed.

She and others went to the room and she noticed under the door a chair leg. After going round to the outside to look at a window, they noticed the room was curtained and the TV had been dragged across the floor.

The police were called and they discovered Mr Wallace dead in the bathroom with a cut throat, she said.

"Nothing like this has happened in ten years," said the shocked hotel worker Mrs Meadows.

DC Andrew Laing of Gloucester police, said the 62-year-old was found slumped in the bathroom with a large gash to his neck surrounded by sheets and pillows, he believed, to soak up the blood.

He said a suicide note was found and there were no suspicious circumstances.

Dr Gavin Mackay, consultant psychiatrist, said he was admitted to Wotton lawn hospital on April 30 last year after he was transferred from hospital in Banbury following an overdose.

Earlier, the inquest heard how he was found in a swimming pool near a flat he had rented at Bliss Mill near Chipping Norton on April 25, semi conscious having taken pills and alcohol.

He was taken to hospital and staff at the luxurious Cotswolds property never saw him again.

Mr Wallace had previously had contact with mental health services for depression, alcohol abuse and anxiety.

Recent stresses said the doctor, were the breakdown of a three-year relationship, accommodation and financial difficulties.

On admission to Wooton Lawn, the view was he was not clinically depressed but he remained a high suicide risk.

By May 3 he said he no longer wanted to take his life and he was assessed as a low suicide risk, said Dr Mackay.

He left the clinic saying he was going for a walk and would return but he never came back, the court heard.

Dr John MacCarthy, who carried out a post mortem, said a moderate amount of alcohol had been found in his blood and he had died from cutting the jugular vein and windpipe.

Coroner Mr Crickmore said the assessment on May 3 that he was a low suicide risk was clearly wrong bearing in mind what then happened, but he was not critical of that decision.

He said he was satisfied that he could record a verdict that Mr Wallace killed himself in this case.