Young mum, 25, found dead two days after emailing assisted dying clinic Dignitas
A mum died two days after contacting an assisted dying clinic saying she wanted to end her life.
Hannah Jean Elizabeth Martin had suffered with mental health issues since she was 13-years-old.
After years of struggling and help from health care professionals, the 25-year-old took her own life at home in Bilsborrow, Lancashire, on January 21, 2019, Lancashire Live reported.
Two days before she was found dead, Hannah had sent an email to Switzerland-based assisted dying clinic Dignitas in which she wrote: “I want to die. I don’t want this life I have been given.”
At an inquest on Wednesday at Accrington Town Hall, Miss Martin’s family described her long struggle with her mental health.
Mum Louise Whelan said Hannah “lit up the room when she entered it and was the life and soul of the party”.
“But she wasn’t able to cope with things at certain times and we were used to rallying round her and trying to make things better”.
When Hannah was 15 she was admitted to hospital after taking an overdose, and before her daughter was born in March 2011 she travelled to Germany in a bid to track down her father but found “no trace of him”, Mrs Whelan said.
After working in a number of shops, including Littlewoods and Greggs, Hannah got a job as a prison officer at HMP Liverpool in 2018.
“I was so proud of her,” Hannah’s mum said.
Hannah started seeing a fellow prison officer but the relationship ended in early December of 2018 because of his “highly manipulative personality”, the inquest heard.
Best friend Rachel Burrow described how the two women, who met at school, usually saw each other “most days” but their level of contact reduced during 2018 because her boyfriend “had an issue with our friendship”.
“It was a toxic relationship,” Miss Burrow said.
“When they split up I think that because she worked with him, and had invested so much in the relationship, it wasn’t easy for her to shrug it off. She wasn’t herself.
“We always used to go out on little trips together, if we were just nipping to Sainsbury’s for example, but around that time I remember asking her if she wanted to come with me to pick up a pram and she said ‘no, I’m in bed, I’m tired’.
“We used to go Christmas shopping together but that year (2018) there was nothing.”
On January 14, 2018, eight days before Hannah was found dead, her mum accompanied her to an appointment with her GP John Miles.
Hannah had taken some notes with her, a copy of which was read out during the inquest, in which she had written details of her mental state and past treatment.
“She said she hadn’t been honest (with him) before but she was going to be now,” Mrs Whelan said.
“She wanted to come clean about how she was feeling and get some help.”
Dr Miles was so concerned about what Hannah told him, including that she had considered “getting a flight” and running away, he called Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust mental health crisis team during his consultation with Hannah.
Not long after Hannah left the GP’s she received a call from mental health nurse Cath Lupton who carried out a telephone assessment.
Mrs Lupton told the inquest that she would have considered Hannah to be ‘medium’ risk but noted she had protective factors, such as her two children, and so opted to book her in for a face-to-face appointment, the earliest available of which was on January 31.
The coroner noted that this 17-day gap was a “longer than average” waiting time for a non-urgent referral with the service, which is typically 10 days.
Hannah’s best friend Miss Burrow said she later told her the phone call was “s***”.
“She told me the crisis team didn’t care and they could only give her an appointment on January 31 which (Hannah said) wasn’t soon enough and she felt like it was ages off,” Miss Burrow said.
Seven days after Hannah had seen her GP, on January 21, Miss Burrow went to collect her own children from school, where her friend’s daughter also attended.
When the pal noticed Hannah’s daughter standing with a teacher, she knew something was wrong.
“Something didn’t sit quite right,” Miss Burrow said during the inquest.
“I tried ringing her, on her mobile and landline, but there was no answer.”
Miss Burrow went to Hannah’s home, where she met Daniel Walton, the father of one of Hannah’s children.
Mr Walton smashed a window to get into the house where they found Hannah dead.
Hannah’s brother Ben told the coroner that after his sister’s death he looked through her internet search history, emails and diary entries.
In the weeks before she died Hannah researched suicide methods and emailed Dignitas just before her death.
“The impression you got was that Hannah was considering taking her own life but she didn’t want any pain?” the coroner asked Mr Martin.
“Yes,” he replied.