A Royal Navy airman who became the most capped rugby player in the force’s history hanged himself in the stairwell at a block of flats.
Kyle Mason, 33, who was described as ‘gentle giant’ had packed up his possessions into boxes before he was found dead at a property in Millbay, Plymouth, Devon.
Mr Mason, who appeared 29 times as a forward for the Navy and 34 times for Malta in World Cup qualifiers left a detailed suicide note outside his front door, an inquest heard.
Police said the scene was ‘very, very organised’ and included credit and bank cards placed on sheets of paper with PIN numbers, account numbers and balances.
He laid out various keys, a will, and his Naval ID tag, and had packed everything he owned into boxes and wrote the name and number of an undertaker to sort his own funeral.
Det Con Matt Wood told the hearing in Plymouth Coroner’s Court that the suicide note to his brother was ‘very apologetic’ and ‘very definitive’ in terms of what he planned to do.
He said it was very clear Mr Mason had planned his own death in response to a ‘sad set of circumstances’ and highlighted how the notes left behind revealed that Kyle was ‘suffering with mental health’, adding ‘this was a deliberate and intended act.’
A post mortem confirmed Mr Mason suffered cardio-respiratory arrest from a ligature compression of the neck.
Mr Mason also played rugby for Plymouth Albion and Brixham RFC.
He served as a Leading Airman on HMS Ocean and Bulwark and was most recently a fireman at RNAS Culdrose base in west Cornwall.
His brother Gary Mason told the hearing that his brother played rugby ‘to a very high standard’ and had become the most capped forward in Navy history – appearing 29 times for the team.
However, he noted that in the last four years Kyle spent less time playing rugby and focused solely on his career, even recently applying to join the Australian Navy, with the aim of going there in June.
He described Kyle as a ‘very sociable person’ who ‘enjoyed the relationships he had with friends and family’, but who had never settled down with a relationship of his own and had had no children.
Royal Navy Air Station Culdrose said in a statement after his death: ‘He took immense pride in the execution of his duties and was a professional exemplar to all.
‘An engaging character, he always gave his best in his primary role and this was only rivalled by his passion for Royal Navy Rugby Union.
‘A true team player, he applied the same work ethic and dedication, whether on the field of play or on the Flight Deck, and this ultimately defined his character.’
Senior Plymouth coroner Ian Arrow recorded a verdict of suicide saying it was ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ that Kyle had taken ‘extensive steps bring his own life to an end.’
No members of Mr Mason’s family attended the short inquest.
Mr Arrow said Mr Mason was ‘well liked and highly regarded, particularly in rugby circles.’