A PUB landlord found dead at sea after a £29,000 Christmas savings fund went missing killed himself, an inquest has ruled.

Malcolm Levesconte, who ran the Royal Oak in Shrewton, jumped to his death from a cross Channel ferry and his body was found in the sea near Dover on Christmas Eve.

An inquest in Salisbury today heard the 59-year-old was in debt and left letters for his partner which indicated his intention to kill himself.

His partner Janet Handsley told police she had found a note about the house in an envelope with her name on the night before his disappearance on December 9, but didn’t realise what it meant.

The following day Mr Levesconte said he was going to speak to somebody who could resolve a financial issue, but he never came back. More letters were discovered after he went missing, including one with a Brittany Ferries invoice for a ticket from Portsmouth to St Malo in France.

Police discovered his belongings in his room and knew he got on the ferry in Portsmouth but he wasn’t on it when it arrived in St Malo. His body was discovered two weeks later.

Assistant deputy coroner Claire Balysz said the letters spoke about his debt to the thrift club and clearly expressed his intentions.

The post mortem concluded cause of death was drowning and the coroner ruled he had taken his own life.

Following Mr Levesconte's death Wiltshire Police said they had been working on the theory that he had been propping up his failing pub business with money from the fund.