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Grieving mother took her own life

By MIG: Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: September 28, 2013

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A WOMAN unable to come to terms with the death of her son in a car crash took her own life, an inquest heard.

The inquest into the death of Jane Elizabeth Austin, aged 49, of Kingsley Road, Werrington, was held at North Staffordshire Coroner’s Court in Hartshill.

The inquest, led by Her Majesty’s Coroner Ian Smith, heard that Mrs Austin was born in Nairobi, Africa, before moving to Staffordshire as a baby and had worked as a carer.

The court heard that Mrs Austin had three children, Shannon, Rebecca and Darren with her husband William Austin.

Darren was killed in a road traffic accident in 2007 and the court heard that Mrs Austin had struggled to come to terms with his death, and had previously attempted to take her own life.

Mr Austin told the court that his wife had been feeling low around the time of her death because it was the anniversary of Darren’s death, his birthday, Mother’s Day, and that their pet dog had also recently died.

On the night before her death, on March 16 this year, Mr Austin told the court that he and his wife had some drinks and a takeaway and watched TV before he went to bed at around 12.30am, while Mrs Austin stayed up.

The next morning, at around 7.30am, Mr Austin, on realising his wife had not been to bed, went downstairs into the living room where the TV was still on, then into the kitchen, where he found her hanging.

He told the court that he immediately alerted his daughter Shannon, who was in the house with her boyfriend Liam Taylor, that Mrs Austin was dead. Mr Taylor called the emergency services.

A post-mortem examination found cause of death to be consistent with hanging.

The court was read a statement from Christine Gerrard, the other grandmother of Mrs Austin’s granddaughter, who had seen Mrs Austin the day before her death.

The court heard that the two women discussed their grandchild’s care arrangements, Darren’s death and the death of Mrs Austin’s pet dog, and had discussed plans for Mrs Austin’s upcoming 50th birthday.

The court heard that when Mrs Gerrard left Mrs Austin at around 7.30pm that evening she was “in good spirits”.

The court was also read a statement from Shannon Austin, which reiterated the events leading to her mother’s death, and said that she had seen a post which her mother had put on Facebook the night shortly before her death saying “Things to do before I'm 50, help”.

The court then heard details of Mrs Austin’s medical and mental health by her GP, followed by the investigating detective sergeant, who confirmed that police found no evidence of third party involvement in her death.

Concluding the inquest coroner Mr Smith recorded a verdict that Mrs Austin had taken her own life.

He said: “It is evident that she was feeling depressed over the death of her son, and his birthday, Mother’s Day and the death of her dog all contributed to making her feel down.

“She was on her own and had been drinking and she took the decision ‘I’ve had enough’.”

He added: “I’m satisfied that at that moment she did intend to take her own life.”

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