Moving tributes paid to young boxing "legend" Lewis Pinto who took his own life
A promising professional boxer with a history of depression sent a picture message of himself with a noose around his neck to his ex-girlfriend hours before he hanged himself.
Lewis Pinto, 24, exchanged texts with his ex-girlfriend following an altercation when the two bumped into each other on a night out in June this year, the last one reading "goodnight and goodbye."
The couple, who had been dating for 18 months, had split up six weeks prior to the chance meeting, an inquest at Croydon Coroners Court heard.
In the hours after, the couple exchanged texts and Pinto said he was driving to Beddington Park to take his own life.
The former girlfriend alerted police but a frantic search around Beddington Park proved fruitless.
Pinto had in fact gone to Roundshaw Woods, not far from his home on the Roundshaw Estate, to end his life.
A woman walking her dog in the woods at 8am on June 3 had to be treated for shock following the grim discovery.
The inquest heard how Pinto, who was about to have his second professional fight, had a history of depression.
In 2008 he had to be treated after stabbing himself with a samurai sword after splitting up with another girlfriend.
Only last year Pinto told a psychiatrist he planned to hang himself in Beddington Park, but had improved after being given cognitive behaviour therapy.
An post mortem revealed Pinto was 1.5 times over the drink drive limit when he committed suicide and had taken codeine and paracetamol.
In recording a verdict of suicide, Dr Roy Palmer said: "I'm sure it was an impulsive act, but I'm satisfied he meant to take his own life after sending a false trail (as to his whereabouts)."
Dr Palmer told Pinto's ex girlfriend Natalie, who was in court to hear the verdict: "I'm sure you did everything possible to stop him doing this."
At Pinto's funeral in June, many of the people who had cheered him on at the ringside, stood in shock, with heads bowed as family members paid tribute to whom his father Steve described as a "wonderful son".
Friends and family of Pinto released scores of lanterns into the night sky in the week after his shock death at Roundshaw Airfield in his memory.
Tributes to Lewis
Ex-Girlfriend Natalie Lomas said: “How do you define this gorgeous boy? He had the innocence of an eight year old, the heart of a lion and the determination of a leader.
"The Peter Pan of our generation - He never wanted to grow up.
"No one I have ever met or will ever meet will be like Lewis, and it pains me to say we lost the good guy.
"His days were spent with his nieces and his nights in the ring, winning titles left and right. He was a fighter who was unfairly given demons he couldnt over come.
"It breaks my heart that he never knew how many people looked up to him.
"He had all the time in the world for your problems and wouldn't think for a second about his own. I am very proud to have known Lew, he was my heaven on earth.
"A guy that everyone would love to be, a legend in time, accountable, dependable, reliable, and mine. An ideal example of a hero & Just incredible in everyway.
"Theres only one Lewis Pinto, our undefeated champion.
Tom Sibley, a close friend said: “I was lucky enough to be a friend of lewis pinto's he touched my life in a massive way he was such a loving loyal and caring friend and can't believe he's left us.
"Lewis was the only person I've ever met who was a fearless warrior in the ring and such a gentle man outside the ring - he had the heart of a lion.
"All the people who were lucky enough to be friends with lewis should remember the good time's you shared with him and we should all be thankful to have had him in our lives.
"You will never be forgotten my friend and I love and miss you dearly.”