A middle-aged Hartlepool man died after going into the sea off Horden shortly after being told his sickness benefits were being withdrawn.
But County Durham and Darlington assistant coroner Crispin Oliver said it was impossible to say whether David Metcalf had meant to enter the water.
The 54-year-old was found on the beach at Grants Houses on Tuesday, January 3, four days after being visited by police and a mental health triage practitioner at his home in Arch Court, Hartlepool.
An inquest at Crook coroner’s court heard a post-mortem showed signs of drowning and hypothermia. Mr Oliver said Mr Metcalf had been ‘a somewhat solitary individual,’ with no family and apparently just one acquaintance, a local garage owner who had alerted police after Mr Metcalf gave him his car keys and bank documents, saying he would not need them any more.
He had been examined by mental health practitioner Leighann Fishpool, whose report said: “David was signed off sick for nine years due to anxiety, stress and panic attacks. “He has recently been deemed fit for work and told he would need to go to the JobCentre to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance. “He said he was frustrated and upset and thought ‘What’s the point?’