A CARE home manager who used the company’s money to pay for his own business and charity interests took his own life when the home was threatened with closure, an inquest heard.

David Ferris, 51, hanged himself in woodland near Harnham chalk pit on September 26. He was taken to hospital but died just over a week later.

Mr Ferris worked as residential care manager at Luma Care, a home for autistic young adults in Rollestone Street, Salisbury, for ten years.

He was also a co-founder of The Body Lounge fitness centre and launched Race for Men in 2015.

Salisbury coroner’s court heard on Monday that when Luma Care was established in 2007, owner and financial director Omar Farouk Abdul-Rahman Al-Yassin, had been “unreliable and irresponsible” with the firm’s money.

Mr Ferris later took over the finances and Al-Yassin stayed on as a silent partner.

But further financial problems followed and the company was served a winding up petition in September this year.

A spokesman for Wiltshire Council said Luma Care's 16 residents were moved to Alabare as "it was in the best interests of everyone provided" to find them a new care facility.

Tim Lambard, who had worked with Mr Ferris at the home for a decade and knew him as a friend, said in a statement: “At some point David began to supplement and pay from the Luma Care account to initiatives he wanted to develop that were close to his heart, including The Body Lounge and Race for Men.”

The inquest heard that the money had been used to cover start-up costs and advertising on projects that mostly benefitted others.

Mr Lambard said he believed the borrowing would have started small, to avoid crisis, but added: “Unfortunately at some point this must have got out of hand."

Mr Ferris’s wife, Wendy, said in a statement that he had told her he was in trouble and had used £10,000 of Luma Care’s money to pay for Body Lounge adverts.

Mr Lambard said Luma Care had been “considering the viability” of starting a supported living service if they were to lose possession of the home in August.

Luma Care appeared twice in court during September and, as a result, Al-Yassin was struck off and the company accounts frozen.

Mr Lambard said: “It seems to me David was increasingly throwing caution to the wind buying more items for his family and himself."

He added: “David was everyone’s rock, but he didn’t allow himself to accept that support in return.

“He lived to make others happy but he didn’t seem to believe those who loved him would accept his financial problems and rally around him.”

The inquest heard that Mr Ferris had been convinced he would lose his job after a meeting on September 25.

The following morning he told his wife he was not going to work as he had emails to send from home.

But he sent a message to Mr Lambard saying he planned to kill himself.

Dog walkers found Mr Ferris in the woods behind Essex Square in Harnham, shortly before 10am.

They tried to revive him until paramedics arrived and took him to Salisbury District Hospital, where he died on October 4.

Coroner David Ridley said he was satisfied that Mr Ferris had intended to take his own life.