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‘Depressed’ wife committed suicide

By MIG: Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: October 16, 2013

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A MOTHER-OF-THREE committed suicide after suffering from depression, an inquest has heard.

Claire Skerritt-Stevens, of Park House Farm, Bradnop, passed away, aged 51, at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire on January 23.

The inquest into her death took place at Her Majesty's North Staffordshire Coroners Court on Thursday, October 10, conducted by Her Majesty's assistant coroner Anthony Curzon.

The court heard that Mrs Skerritt- Stevens married her husband Martin Stevens in 1984 and they had three children.

Following the birth of her third child, Mrs Skerritt-Stevens suffered badly with post natal depression and was in hospital for a number of weeks as a result.

In a statement read to the court, Mr Stevens said that his wife had been very keen to get involved in fun runs for charity and that three years ago, after a practice session, she collapsed and was taken to hospital. She had follow-up checks and made a full recovery.

The court heard that as time went on she continued to suffer from bouts of depression and in 2012 she had become worried about family matters and, as a result, she had visited her doctor, accompanied on occasions by her family.

Mr Stevens said that his wife was "up and down" in her mental condition and was having bouts of depression at the beginning of this year and was unable to sleep.

She visited her doctor on January 12, who prescribed sleeping tablets.

The following day, January 13, Mr Stevens said that his wife seemed “fine at times”, but was suffering with "waves" of depression.

He said that in the afternoon on January 13 he and his wife were both in the garden and he saw her throw her clippers away and after asking what was wrong she said "it was coming over her again".

The court heard that they carried on gardening and at around 4pm Mr Stevens took the garden waste to the back of the house and as he returned he saw his wife standing by the barn door next to the farmyard.

He went to feed the animals and returned again 15 minutes later, but could not see his wife and, presuming she had gone to feed the cats, he went into the barn where he found her hanging.

He cut her down and called to his daughter for help, whose boyfriend alerted the emergency services, and they attempted to resuscitate her.

Paramedics arrived and assisted, followed by police and an ambulance and Mrs Skerritt-Stevens was taken to the University Hospital of North Staffordshire Critical Care Unit, but she had suffered too great an injury to her brain and she passed away on January 23.

Investigating officer PC Beresford, of Leek Police, told the court that he had attended the farm on January 13 and was satisfied that there was no third party involvement in Mrs Skerritt-Stevens’ death.

A post mortem examination revealed cause of death to be hypoxic brain damage due to hanging.

Concluding that Mrs Skerritt- Stevens committed suicide, Mr Curzons said: "From the GP report there is clear evidence that Mrs Skerritt-Stevens had a depressive problem and clearly what happened that afternoon happened despite all of the help that her doctor and her family had tried to do.

"I accept the cause of death to be hypoxic brain damage down to hanging and regrettably nothing could be done to help her, other than to provide palliative care.

“My condolences to the family at this very tragic time."

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