A MAN killed himself just a day before news arrived of a hospital appointment his family had asked for, an inquest was told.

The grieving relatives of Robert Cook, 31, said their plea for help for their depressed son went unheard until it was too late.

Dad-of-two Mr Cook, of Crumlin Road, Pontypool, was found hanging at his home on May 5.

For weeks before the tragedy, Mr Cook - a diagnosed clinical depressive who had previously attempted suicide - his father and his GP had asked for him to be referred to a specialist unit, the inquest was told.

But Mr Cook's appointment letter did not arrive until the day after he killed himself.

Now his family say they feel "let down" by the system and are demanding an apology and reassurances other families won't be treated in the same way.

His mother, Brenda, said: "It's too late for Rob now, but we want to make sure no other family have to go through what we have. We were asking for help and it just wasn't there."

Newport coroner's court yesterday heard how Mr Cook had been depressed since separating from his wife.

He sought help from his GP who asked for a referral to Gwent Healthcare Trust's psychiatric unit at Talygarn.

Mr Cook's father, Colin, also called Talygarn asking for help for his son. He said: "Since Robert was 25 he suffered with depression and had attempted suicide several times, but he had been treated and got better.

"In the weeks before he died I was worried he might do something so I called the hospital myself, but no-one did anything.

"If it had been a heart attack someone would have been here immeditely, his condition was just as threatening but no one seemed to care."

A post mortem examination found Mr Cook died as a result of hanging.

A spokesman for Gwent Healthcare Trust: "We received one referral letter on April 23, 2004. There was no indication that Mr Cook needed to be seen urgently and routine appointment was scheduled.

"This is a sad case, the outcome of which could not have been foreseen." Gwent coroner David Bowen, who recorded a verdict Mr Cook killed himself while depressed said: "It's hard to say whether had treatment been made available to him it would have prevented what must have been inevitable, no-one knows."