Tragedy after woman’s 3am call for help
AWOMAN was found hanged after leaving a message of distress on her support workers’ answer machine in the middle of the night.
Lynn Whittaker, 42, who lived in sheltered accommodation at Ivy House, Macclesfield, had been diagnosed with emotionally unstable personality disorder, a coroners court at Macclesfield Town Hall heard.
She was under the care of staff at the Jocelyn Solly Resource Centre when she called them at 3am to say she was planning to take her own life.
But tragically the message was not picked up until the following morning when staff arrived to work and her body was discovered alongside a suicide note.
The court heard that Ms Whittaker, who is described as ‘intelligent and articulate’, disputed her diagnosis and became uncooperative with mental health professionals.
A few days before her death she was sectioned at Macclesfield Hospital and while her behaviour was ‘hostile’ she told staff she did not feel suicidal and was discharged.
The next evening a fellow resident at Ivy House said she seemed normal when she went into the communal lounge.
But hours later, at around 3am, she left the message on the answer machine of her community care team saying she was going to kill herself.
The staff - who discovered the message at the start of their shift the next day - informed the police.
Speaking at the inquest, PC Adam Morse said: “At 9.29am I received a concern for welfare call after Lynn had made a call early in the morning to the Jocelyn Solly centre. I and another officer went to the address and knocked on the door but there was no answer. The door was unlocked so we went in and I saw an A4 piece of paper on the floor left by Lynn, it was a suicide note.”
Ms Whittaker’s sister Lorraine Ruscoe told the coroner that she had a broken childhood. She said: “She was very helpful to me and to other people. She had health problems over the years but the last time I saw her she was her normal self and I didn’t expect this to happen.”
A report after her death found no failures in her care which could have prevented her death.
Coroner Janet Napier said: “She was a very troubled woman but was very intelligent and articulate so this was even more upsetting. She was known to two care coordinators and had been seen by Richard Barlow in the lounge and seemed to be ok, but obviously things seemed to have changed and we’ve heard about the phone call and letter.
“She took her own life when the balance of her mind was disturbed. She had great potential and was affected by what happened in her youth.”