A FORMER Royal Marine who managed 45,000 people and was a padre at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst took his own life after struggling to deal with promotion.

Hugely-respected Stephen Penny, who started his career as a firefighter before landing his dream job in the Marines, suffered from bi-polar disorder and depression as his career pushed him further up the career ladder.

Berkshire Coroner Ian Wade reached a conclusion of suicide after the ex-soldier was found hanged a week after his 23rd wedding anniversary at his family home in Windsor, Berkshire.

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On the day before his death, the retired soldier - who had been volunteering with charity The Soldiers' & Airmen's Scripture Readers Association - had visited the charity's director to explain his inability to carry out his padre role at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst, due to ill-health.

The inquest in Reading on Friday heard how Mr Penny was reassured his job would be kept open until he felt better.

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The coroner heard Mrs Penny say that her husband's mental health spiralled downwards after he accepted the prestigious role as Head of Security for "World Vision" from 2009 to 2012.

She told the inquest: "He was responsible for 45,000 employees in some of the most dangerous parts of the world. I think that is when it all started to take its toll on him.

The inquest heard that Mr Penny became overwhelmed with depression causing him to leave the job.

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"He did some consultancy when he left but he could only get it in security which was not his passion, it did disappoint him," his wife added.

The inquest was told that on the morning of his death, the father-of-two kissed his wife and prayed with her before heading to his GP at the Clarence Medical Centre in Windsor, for a routine appointment where he had not shown any suicidal thoughts or intent.

Shereen Penny told her husband's story at the inquest and said: "In the refugee camp where we fell in love, he showed he was somebody who really cared for people. He was a marine for almost five years serving in the 1988 South Armagh tour. He became an international aid worker after that between 1992 and 2012.

"He was mischievous. He was somebody who loved life and he would rather talk about the fun he had rather than dwell on the negative, he never talked about anything bad. He loved storytelling."

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Executive director of SASRA, Squadron Leader Rev. Dr Hill, said after the inquest: "The battle that Steve Penny fought for his mental health was one that many soldiers and veterans fight each day.

"He was a dear friend and a highly-valued colleague and the staff at SASRA were deeply saddened to learn of his death.

"We miss him very much."