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Chartered accountant from Norwich who took own life was £3,000 in debt, inquest hears

PUBLISHED: 15:26 08 January 2018 | UPDATED: 16:09 08 January 2018

Norfolk Coroner's Court. Photo by Simon Finlay

Norfolk Coroner's Court. Photo by Simon Finlay

Archant Norfolk Copyright

A chartered accountant who took her own life was facing a county court judgement for owed money, an inquest heard.

Helen Stafford was found dead at her home on Bertram Way, Norwich, on July 26, 2017, alongside notes addressed to family, friends and emergency services.

An inquest in Norwich on Monday heard how the 44-year-old suffered from depression, but gave no indication of wanting to end her life.

In a written statement, her father Reg Stafford said he discovered that his daughter was in debt following her death.

He said that in total, including interest, it amounted to £3,000 and that there was a CCJ [County Court Judgement] against her.

But he said: “I cannot understand how this situation came about, because we found no other correspondence.

“Helen had the appropriate funds to settle it.”

Mr Stafford said he first became aware of his daughter’s depression after she went through a relationship break-up.

The inquest heard how she had also been affected by her mother’s death in 2015 and may have been having difficulties at work.

Mr Stafford said his daughter went from being a “conscientious worker” who would often stay late, to someone who was no longer interested in working.

He recalled her saying that she would get the blame for things despite her warning “them” about it for months.

The inquest heard how Miss Stafford had previously overdosed on medication. She was also on anti-depressants.

In a written statement, cleaner Jody Welsh said she found Miss Stafford’s body on the morning of July 26.

“I had been speaking with Helen while cleaning for her and noticed she had been struggling lately,” she said.

Senior coroner Jacqueline Lake said Miss Stafford had left notes addressed to her family and friends.

She said one was headed “funeral wishes”, while another was addressed to the emergency services. The note stated her death was a suicide, rather than an accident.

A post mortem examination concluded that she died from hanging.

Mrs Lake said although Miss Stafford gave no indication to her family of wanting to take her own life, the method used and her notes indicated her intention. She recorded a conclusion of suicide.

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