A talented and popular army medic based in Suffolk took his own life while battling depression, an inquest heard.

Lance Corporal Daniel Williams, originally from the Wrexham area, was found dead near Needham Lake on December 7 last year.

Senior Suffolk coroner Dr Peter Dean told an inquest into the 26-year-old’s death that the young soldier, based at Wattisham since April 2015, had shown great promise and was a respected member of his squadron.

But he had been taking antidepressants, suffering from a depressive disorder and experiencing suicidal thoughts for several months before he died.

His family – including mother Louise, brother Benjamin and his father, who was not named during the hearing – were praised for supporting him in every way they could by Dr Dean.

They paid tribute to him in a statement read out to the inquest, hosted at Suffolk Coroner’s Court.

They said: “He (Daniel) was bright, popular, fun loving and extremely intelligent. Everyone who knew him loved him.”

The inquest heard in October 2016 Lance Corporal Williams’ family received a phone call telling them he had not turned up for work – a few hours later he was found to have crashed his car close to the family home.

But in the weeks that followed, the inquest heard, he appeared more upbeat and was planning to return to work at Wattisham in January after a period of sick leave. Despite this, he announced plans to visit friends at the Suffolk base in early December and did not return to his family.

Police and paramedics found him dead in the morning of December 7 after a dog walker raised the alarm.

A post-mortem examination confirmed the cause of death as hanging.

Major Tom Galpin, who worked with the 26-year-old on foreign missions including Operation Herrick in Afghanistan, said Lance Corporal Williams was a trusted and extremely talented army medic.

While a member of the 30 Squadron 1 Armoured Medical Regiment, he said, he consistently outperformed his peers.

In a statement read to the court, Major Galpin said: “His professional conduct was irreproachable. He exceeded all of our expectations.”

Recording a conclusion that Lance Corporal Williams took his own life, Dr Dean passed on his condolences to the 26-year-old’s family and friends.