Mum's suicide after daughter's death

A housewife killed herself on the stretch of track where her teenage daughter's body was discovered after going through “hell” following her disappearance, an inquest found today.

A housewife killed herself on the stretch of track where her teenage daughter's body was discovered after going through “hell” following her disappearance, an inquest found today.

Gary Coombs, 48, an insurance company manager at Norwich Union in Norwich, told the inquest that his wife wanted to be with their daughter.

Natasha Coombs, 17, vanished on July 28. Her body was found near a rail line at Manningtree, Essex, two weeks later. Joanne Coombs, 41, of Dovercourt, Essex, was found dead near the same spot on September 18.

The inquest at Chelmsford, Essex, heard that Natasha had threatened to throw herself in front of a train on the night she disappeared after learning that her boyfriend Josh Brennan had been to the cinema with a female work colleague. She had a history of depression and an “on/off” with Mr Brennan.

The jurors heard that Mrs Coombs had driven to a spot by the railway line where flowers had been left for her daughter and was seen in her car shortly before her body was found.

Mr Coombs wept as he described the ordeal after Natasha vanished. “It was hell. It was hell,” he said. “She was very strong for everybody else. That was Joanne. Every day, the emotion bottled up.

Most Read

“Joanne wanted to be with Natasha. She firmly believed she would be together with her.”

The court heard that Mrs Coombs left two notes and her husband was sure that she had committed suicide.

Police said Natasha's body was found near Mr Brennan's home. They think she may have been making her way there along by the side of the line when she was hit.

Evidence showed that she had been struck by a train while walking at the side of the line rather than on it. Jurors concluded that Natasha died as the result of an accident - but that Mrs Coombs committed suicide.

Both Mr Coombs and Mr Brennan described Natasha as “attention-seeking”. Neither thought she intended suicide - despite making the threat in a call to Mr Brennan's mother Lynn.

Jurors heard that on the night she disappeared, Natasha made repeated attempts to contact Mr Brennan but his phone had been turned off. She told Mr Brennan's mother that if she could not contact him she would kill herself.

After the hearing, coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray told Mr Coombs: “Everyone in this courtroom realises that you have had to endure the most appalling loss - the loss of a daughter and a wife in such tragic circumstances is incredibly, inexpressibly dreadful.”

Mr Coombs told journalists: “There aren't any words that can be said to bring my lovely girls, Joanne and Natasha, back and I simply cannot put into words how much I miss the two of them and the happy and perfect life we had together.

“I will always love Natasha and treasure the memories we have shared. I hope and pray that Natasha and Joanne have found happiness together.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter