A HIGHLY successful businessman who co-founded a leading Barnoldswick company was found hanged in his Flasby home in July, an inquest in Skipton was told.

Simon Sharp, one of the founders of cycling parts manufacturer Hope Technology, who had been suffering from depression and had a recent history of mental illness, had hanged himself on the staircase in a very short period when he had been left alone in the house, assistant coroner for Yorkshire north-west Jonathan Heath heard.

The 53-year-old, an accomplished motorcycle trials rider and a competitive mountain biker, had suffered serious head injuries in an accident in 2014 but had appeared to make a successful recovery, Mr Heath was told. He had had a few accidents previously and had suffered several concussions.

Earlier this year he had become increasingly prone to bouts of psychotic depression and had had several periods of treatment at Airedale Hospital, the coroner heard.

Mr Sharp's mood had appeared to improve after attending therapy sessions, but negative delusional beliefs had seemed to return in the weeks before his death.

A decorator working at Mr Sharp's home had heard screaming when Mr Sharp was found by a member of his family and had rushed to cut him down. He rang 999 and paramedics and police rushed to the scene, but Mr Sharp was already dead, Mr Heath was told.

In papers found soon afterwards death by his wife Alison, the father of three had written that his family would "all be better off without me."

The coroner's verdict was that Mr Sharp had taken his own life.

In a statement given shortly after the announcement of his death his colleagues at Hope Technology said they believed a contributory factor could be several concussions he had suffered over the years.

A company statement said: "Every product in Hope’s almost 30 years history has had influence and input from him, from the disc brakes that originally made Hope famous through to the latest carbon fibre products.

“He was still in the factory every day keeping his watchful eye over all Hope’s product development, quietly working in the background, never seeking attention.

“Simon was an accomplished motorcycle trials rider as well as competitive mountain biker, riding at the highest level in both. In his riding career, he suffered several concussions, with the most serious resulting in brain bleed, and it is believed this may have led to CTE, a degenerative brain disease that arises from concussions and is associated with impaired judgment and depression and may have contributed to his death.

""He will be sorely missed and fondly remembered by all he knew him."