A 75-year-old man killed himself shortly after discovering his wife of 25 years had been having an affair, an inquest heard.

Fred Gettings was discovered at home in Hellifield on January 15 by the man his wife, Pamela Gettings, had struck up a relationship with, the Skipton inquest heard on Thursday.

Mr Gettings, described as an “archetypal English gentleman – the type you see in films”, had been at a private mental health clinic in Harrogate after being assessed by Airedale Hospital’s psychiatric unit as a serious suicide risk.

He had been taken to Airedale by his wife on December 30 after she had discovered a noose hanging from a beam in their house – leading her to believe he would attempt suicide.

On New Year’s Day, Mrs Gettings had paid for her husband to be transferred to the private Cygnet Hospital.

Mr Gettings had initially not been allowed out without a member of staff, but on January 9, he was assessed as able to go out alone, as long as staff knew where he was going.

On the day of his death, he had left the hospital, telling staff he was concerned for the whereabouts of his cat.

He was then found hanging from a roof beam at the house in Hellifield by Simon Curtis, who had gone there with Mrs Gettings to collect some belongings.

A letter addressed to the police and outlining his intentions had been left.

Mr Curtis, whose statement was read out, described seeing a set of step ladders nearby and how he had cut Mr Gettings down before attempting to revive him while waiting for the emergency services to arrive.

Mrs Gettings, who attended court with her solicitor, as well as Mr Gettings’ brother and sister, described her husband, who was an author, as a very talented and charming man but also complicated.

She said he had numerous health issues and that she had tried throughout to protect him from the world, but that after 25 year, she felt she hardly knew him.

In her statement, she also criticised the hospital for allowing him to come out for the day without a member of staff.

Consultant psychiatrist at Cygnet, John Nehaul, said Mr Gettings had been preoccupied with his marriage and the recent suicide of a close friend.

He spoke to staff members about the man his wife was in a relationship with and how he was angry about him taking her from him, but adamant he would not take his own life.

Dr Nehaul said Mr Gettings was very charming, the archetypal English gentleman and that he had seemed to be planning ahead, ending his marriage and possibly moving abroad.

He added Mr Gettings had been a voluntary patient, he had not been detained under the Mental Health Act and that at some point, patients needed to be let out unattended.

“Fred would chat and smile and joke to us, you could carry on a discussion with him. He was preoccupied with his marriage, but he did not come across as seriously depressed,” he said.

Coroner, Rob Turnbull, concluded that Mr Gettings had taken his own life while staying as a voluntary patient at the Cygnet Hospital.

He said Mr Gettings was not sectionable under the Mental Health Act and that staff at the hospital were clear that he had been making progress.

“He did appear to be improving, he was allowed visits home and it was during one of these visits that he took his own life,” he said.