Teacher took her own life after sharing SATs questions with a friend

Katie Walsh in 2007 after she appeared on Deal Or No Deal. PHOTO: IAN BURT

Katie Walsh in 2007 after she appeared on Deal Or No Deal. PHOTO: IAN BURT - Credit: IAN BURT

A teacher took her own life amid fears for her job after sharing SATs questions with a fellow teacher before exams, an inquest heard.

Katherine Margaret Walsh, known as Katie, was found dead at her Costessey home by her father Denis Walsh shortly before 10am on May 18 earlier this year.

The 34-year-old teacher at St Francis of Assisi Roman Catholic School, on Jessopp Road, Norwich, had battled depression for a number of years, an inquest into her death at Norfolk Coroner's Court heard.

In a statement, Mr Walsh said: 'She had been having problems at work because of the SATs exams. She knew what the questions were and she told a friend who worked at a different school.

'Her friend had been caught and lost her job, but she told them Katie gave her the questions and it was likely she would lose her job too.

Mr Walsh said his daughter then told people she was 'off work sick', but he found her when he went to investigate, saying: 'When I saw her I screamed out her name and held her. I was hysterical and in shock.

'She left a handwritten note on the bed and told me not to blame myself.'

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In a second note, left on her iPad, Miss Walsh apologised to her family and friends. She said: 'I know what I have done is going to hurt many people but I feel like this is all I can do. Bear in mind, I was massively depressed and feeling like this before this.'

Mr Walsh told the inquest how a friend had raised the alarm after receiving a text from Miss Walsh during the night.

He said: 'She had been seeing her doctor for a number of years with depression, and had tried to commit suicide in the past.

'My wife called me that morning asking me to check on Katie because a friend said she had messaged her to say that she loved them very much. My wife had been trying to contact Katie but she was not answering, so she asked me to go.'

He added: 'The issue she had at work tipped her over the edge. She was also about to lose her driving licence because she had been caught speeding, and she was worried about paying her mortgage if she lost her job.'

Senior coroner Jacqueline Lake found Miss Walsh, of Brian McCarter Gardens, took her own life. She said: 'Miss Walsh did have a history of depression and had made attempts to end her life previously.

'Concerns about her work were playing on her mind and she had been drinking alcohol before her death.

'In some cases, that does affect someone's intention, but leaving handwritten and electronic notes suggests this was what she intended.'

Ahead of her funeral on May 31, Miss Walsh's family requested donations in her memory to be made to YoungMinds, a mental health charity for children and young people.

The Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123.

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