A CHEF who struggled with depression and alcohol problems was found dead under a bush after going missing three days earlier.

Stephen Finley had battled with his health problems for several years, Teesside Coroner's Court heard today (Wednesday, May 14).

His mother, Valerie Finley, told the hearing how her son had always worked but had struggled with work pressures and unsociable hours.

The 30-year-old was last seen by his family on Friday, July 26, when he left home in Chadburn Green, Saltersgill, Middlesbrough, at about 3.30pm after drinking a bottle of vodka.

He was found dead three days later under a bush in a near a neighbours garden.

His mother told Teesside Coroner Claire Bailey she believed her son had died the day he went missing and feared his body had been moved and left in the bushes.

Mr Finley had been known to drink heavily and had self harmed in the past. One of the last people to see him was his friend Anthony Conway, whose evidence was read out but the coroner's officer. He said he had left his house in early on the Friday evening and never saw him again.

Detective Inspector Matt Murphy-King reassured the family their was no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death.

Pathologist Nigel Cooper recorded acute alcohol intoxication as the cause of death.

Recording a verdict of death by misadventure, the coroner said: "It's clear that Stephen was from a close and loving family who did everything they could to help him."