A mother has told an inquest how an unproven rape allegation “destroyed” her son, who was found hanging in hospital grounds in Bradford a week after he went missing on an unsupervised cigarette break.

Psychiatric patient Peter Barnes, 31, was reported missing from Cygnet Hospital in Wyke on October 13, 2011, three weeks after he had been transferred from another hospital.

His mother Karen Barnes was giving evidence at Bradford Crown Court yesterday on the first day of the inquest.

She described how her “always loving” son had been scared that people would believe the rape allegation.

She said: “He was falsely accused of rape.” She said that, although it never came to court, it “destroyed him”.

He had been a patient at Cygnet in Wyke once before and had a history of being sectioned and being under mental health care at hospitals and units since being a teenager. He was diagnosed just before his 16th birthday as a paranoid schizophrenic and acutely psychotic after police found him in a gutter with razors in his mouth. They had previously arrested him for possessing cannabis after a call from his mother and he had blamed her for that, she said.

Miss Barnes told the inquest she knew her son had mental health problems from a young age because he was just too good, never got up to mischief and would just sit and stare. “But they told me I was a neurotic single mother looking for things to worry about,” she said.

She also told the inquest her son, who battled with voices telling him she was from the devil, had talked to her about ending his life and on one occasion, just before going to Cygnet the final time, had taken a massive overdose of his medication.

He would hear voices he called “it” telling him to do horrid things, she said. and described how at times he would ask her to read the Bible with him.

She said: “He wanted to die, to be with Jesus and be redeemed. When I said he couldn’t do that because I loved him, he said it was a selfish love.”

Post-mortem evidence suggested Mr Barnes died a few hours after he disappeared because undigested contents of his lunch were found in his stomach.

A spokesman for Cygnet Hospital said: “Nothing is more important to us than the wellbeing of those we support. This inquest must be an extremely difficult time for the family and friends of Mr Barnes and our most sincere condolences go out to them again. We will comment further at the end of the proceedings.”

The inquest continues.