THE grieving family of a “phenomenal Royal Marine” have paid tribute to their 26-year-old son who committed suicide following two tours of Afghanistan.

Owen Wason, a Royal Marine Commando who took on his first tour as a teenager, was described as a “great character” by his step-father during an inquest into the military man’s death.

Mr Wason, of Timothy Hackworth Drive, Darlington, was found hanged in his own home in October last year.

Thousands of pounds worth of donations were pledged to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) charities in memory of the 26-year-old who toured Afghanistan between 2008 and 2012.

Mr Wason’s step-father, Paul Martin, said: “Owen was a really good lad – a great character.

“He had some difficulties, but he worked really hard on them and was doing really well until six months ago when he started getting into difficulties.

“He couldn’t cope too well with stress at times, bit he really worked hard to hide that from people who were close to him.

“He was bubbly, he was loyal, he was a phenomenal Royal Marine. He was a good lad.”

County Durham and Darlington Coroner’s Court in Crook heard today that Mr Wason had been found by his girlfriend on October 24.

Giving evidence during the inquest, Detective Constable Stewart Walker, of Darlington Police, said: “She found someone with a telephone and made a 999 call and paramedics arrived and made their way into the flat.

“I’ve arrived sometime after 1pm and when I’ve entered the flat, the door itself was very secure – almost like one of our own cell doors.”

He added: “I believe the flat was locked from the inside and the keys to the flat were inside the property.”

Following Mr Wason’s death, more than £6,450 has been raised for PSTD Resolution – a charity dedicated to helping veterans of the UK’s Armed Forces and their families to deal with military trauma.

Closing the inquest at County Durham and Darlington Coroner’s Court in Crook yesterday, senior coroner Andrew Tweddle, said: “He appears to have been very determined to end his own life.

“I’ve got to record a suicide conclusion.”