A BASILDON firefighter who took his own life had been suffering from depression for several months before his death, his brother said.

Joe Keighley, 42, who died last July, had worked as a firefighter for 16 years.

His twin brother, Jeff, said the dad-of-three had complained about bullying from colleagues within the fire service.

An internal investigation concluded bullying had not contributed to Mr Keighley’s death, but his brother has called for full disclosure of the culture within the service.

Jeff said: “There are lots of unanswered questions about behaviour in the fire service, because people won’t come forward.

“He didn’t take his life solely because of the fire service, but he did get depressed in the months before his death due to his work situation.

“I met up with him and he was crying about his work situation and I urged him to speak to the fire service, but he said it would only make things worse.”

Mr Keighley was also dealing with personal issues, including the break-up of his relationship and a battle for access to one of his children.

He lived in Brightlingsea and was previously based at Clacton fire station, before receiving a promotion in 2013 to work in Basildon.

Jeff said: “He was promoted, but he was worse off because the travelling meant he was living off just enough to feed himself.

“My brother loved the fire service and it meant everything to him, but I know for a fact he didn’t like some of the people in it and how they treated him.”

Mr Keighley was also the lead singer of popular rock band the Vipers, who played regularly across the Colchester area.

An inquest on Thursday concluded Mr Keighley, of Chapel Road, took his own life and found no evidence workrelated stress was responsible for his death.

Jeff hopes he can work with the fire service to address the bullying accusations.

He added: “There is an opportunity to work with the fire service because it was Joe’s passion.

“We want to prevent other people being in the same position Joe was in.”

An Essex County Fire and Rescue spokesman said the service has liaised closely with Mr Keighley’s family since his death.

He added: "At the request of the family, the Fire Authority commissioned an independent investigation into concerns raised around Mr Keighley’s experiences at work prior to his decision to take his own life.

“That investigation has recently concluded and found no evidence to suggest that was the case.

“The service remains in contact with the family to discuss the conclusions of the report and whether there is any future learning that can be had from the sad death of one of our firefighters.”