A ‘LOVING’ and ‘extremely popular’ Winchester man was found dead behind a city doctors’ surgery more than six times the drink drive limit, an inquest heard.

Alain Maier, 29, was discovered by a woman heading to work at The Friarsgate Practice in Weeke at around 7.20am on September 28, along with a bottle of brandy, but was already dead.

Winchester Coroner’s Court heard that Mr Maier, of Complin Place, Weeke, had been abandoned by his mother in Ecuador days after being born and was adopted by Patricia and Thomas Maier, before being brought back to the UK at the age of two.

Ms Maier, who split up with her then husband several years ago, said that he was “troubled” and developed an alcohol problem in his mid teens, but added: “He had lots of friends, he was extremely popular. He was very fit and played a lot sport. He was an avid cook.”

The inquest also heard that despite numerous attempts to help Mr Maier get past his alcohol problems, the issue only became worse.

Ms Maier, who ran as a Liberal Democrat candidate in the St Barnabas ward during the 2015 Winchester City Council elections and is currently chairwoman of the St Barnabas Community Planning Group, said that in April her son travelled to Ecuador and Columbia to take part in volunteering projects, but returned in August after alcohol continued to be a problem.

Dr Helen Crossley, a consultant at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester, said that since 2015, Mr Maier had been admitted to A&E more than 30 times for alcohol-related problems.

The inquest heard that Mr Maier also suffered with anxiety, for which he used alcohol as self-medication.

Recording a conclusion of alcohol-related death, senior coroner Grahame Short said that he was unsure when Mr Maier died, as he was last seen at around 1.30pm the afternoon before he was discovered.

Mr Short added: “I think he was a troubled soul. It is very sad he ended his life in this way, he was clearly well liked.”

Mr Maier’s adoptive father Thomas, who also attended the inquest, said: “He was a kind, sharing and devoted son and friend. I miss him very much.”

His stepmother Andrea Lewis added: “I would like Alain to be remembered as a kind and loving person.”

Since his death, a number of friends have paid their respects to Mr Maier on his Facebook page.

Kate Daniels said: “There have been so many funny times over the years and there is no way you will be forgotten,” while Tom Shaw wrote: “As much as we will miss him, there’s a lot we can learn from Alain, one of the most out going people I’ve ever known.”