Hellesdon woman did not mean to kill herself, says coroner

Coroner William Armstrong. Photo: Paul Hewitt.

Coroner William Armstrong. Photo: Paul Hewitt.


A “fun and vibrant” Hellesdon woman who was overcoming a history of mental health difficulties did not mean to kill herself, an inquest heard.

Debbie Dennis, 44, was found slumped on her sofa at her home in Falkland Close on September 28, surrounded by empty packets of painkiller tablets.

Despite mental health difficulties dating back 11 years, she had been making progress in her treatment at the time of her death, supported by family, and was planning a holiday with her best friend.

At a hearing in Norwich, coroner William Armstrong said Ms Dennis, who suffered with complex personality disorders, had not meant to kill herself, as she had not discussed the possibility with anyone, left no note, and had a number of positive elements in her life.

He recorded that Ms Dennis had died from an accidental overdose of a prescription medication.

Speaking afterwards, her family expressed their relief at the verdict.

Her sister, Gina Dennis, said: “It was the right conclusion. We already knew in our hearts what happened and that is what has come out today.” She added that Ms Dennis was “a great person”, who had always been “the life of the party – even when there wasn’t a party.”

Ms Dennis had taken overdoses previously as a way of coping with other difficulties in her life.

Her sister told the hearing Ms Dennis had been on painkilling medication to deal with a back injury and other conditions.

“She didn’t believe it was working very well and she would take more than was necessary, and with only a short time between them,” she said, adding her sister was “forgetful” and sometimes believed she had been given placebo medication.

Miss Dennis had been having regular appointments with clinical psychologist Sarah Quakley since June 2011, but had been making good progress and expressed no suicidal thoughts.

Dr Quakley said: “When I remember Debbie I remember a vibrant person who was fun to be with. She was cheeky and naughty in sessions; we shared jokes.

“I know she struggled a lot but she had a good heart. She loved her family and wanted to get better.”

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