Mental health staff branded a suicidal patient "the boy who cried wolf" weeks before he hanged himself.

Gary Tanner, 49, of Addiscombe, killed himself on February 21, 2012, after struggling for years with depression, drug addiction and alcohol abuse.

The painter and decorator suffered from chronic anxiety and "a severe guilt complex" about his problems, an inquest at South London Coroners Court heard last week.

Mr Tanner, who had been left homeless and struggled to adapt to emergency bed-and-breakfast accommodation, hanged himself in his friend Henry Sycamore's house in Academy Gardens.

He was found by Mr Sycamore, who had been Mr Tanner's neighbour for over 10 years.

Mr Sycamore told the court: "I told him that I would be back in about an hour to an hour-and-a-half and there was this sense of peace.

"Looking back, it was like he knew what he was going to do."

Dr Hugh Jones, a consultant psychiatrist, admitted mental health nurses had not always taken Mr Tanner's suicidal feelings as seriously as they should have.

This was despite the fact he had overdosed on the painkiller cocodamol as recently as December 2011.

Dr Jones said mental health care in Croydon had been hampered by a lack of funding and service changes had left nurses who trained to care for schizophrenic patients looking with patients such as Mr Tanner, who had bi-polar affective disorder.

Recording a verdict of suicide, coroner Roy Palmer said: "This was a very troubled individual with a long history of depression and a severe guilt complex about his life situation and addiction to crack cocaine."

He added: "On the totality of the evidence I have heard I am satisfied that he did intend to end his life."

Shortly before his death, friends said Mr Tanner had revealed fears about how he would be remembered.

Mr Sycamore said: "He wanted people to know that he was more than an alcoholic and more than just a painter and decorator. He was a man."