Worksop: Inquest hears harrowing tale of tragic Suzanne
Suzanne Ellis, 30, of Gateford Gardens, was only discovered when her step-father kicked down the locked bathroom door and found her unconscious.
She was taken to hospital but was later pronounced dead.
The tragic events occurred two weeks before Christmas in 2012 and the inquest heard that Suzanne had been suffering mental problems, money issues, depression and addiction to painkillers in the weeks leading up to her death.
The inquest, at Doncaster Coroner’s Court, also heard that she claimed she had been bullied at her workplace, Worksop Amulance Station.
This was reiterated by her mother, Lydia Armstrong and sister Caroline Ellis, both of whom has statements read out in court, and her father Bill Ellis and boyfriend Craig Whyles, who both gave evidence in court.
All of them said Suzanne had spoken to them about being bullied at work and that her locker at Worksop had been broken into and items left in her in-tray.
The bullying claim, however, was denied in court by East Midlands Ambulance Service, who has hired consultant Paul Robinson to investigate bullying claims at Worksop,
Mr Robinson said: “I could find no evidence of bullying at Worksop and although several people said they had heard Suzanne was being bullied but could not provide any direct evidence.”
The court heard the money worries stemmed from an unpaid sum of £13,912 that Suzanne owed back to EMAS in sick pay after she was awarded £17,500 in damages in 2012 from a car crash in 2008.
Tina Richardson, head of human resources at EMAS, confirmed the full amount of £13,912 was still outstanding and that they had a legal duty to try and recover it as it was public money.
Mr Ellis, in his evidence said that his daughter had spoken to him in jumbled words about owing money and thought that by having this outstanding, she had blown hers and Mr Whyles’ hopes of buying a house they wanted.
Mr Ellis also said he was concerned by the amount of pain killers his daughter was taking.
This was for a back problem that had stemmed from the car crash, although the court heard Suzanne had experienced back pain before then.
The court also heard she had attempted suicide once before by trying to take an overdose.
As her mood had dropped, she had become increasingly addicted to the painkillers, at one point taking 16 a day when she should have been taking eight at the most.
Two days before she died, she had stopped taking the tablets and the withdrawal symptoms she was suffering had accelerated the mental fears and paranoia that led her to take her own life.
In his evidence, Mr Whyles said Suzanne had begun to behave oddly two weeks before she died, calling him as work and thinking a co-worker had been brought in to effectively police her when he was merely working his scheduled shift.
“She went to work the next day and was convinced all the call-outs she went to were by the same person,” he said.
“The next day, she rang me and said she’d come home. I went to her and found her having, in effect, a mental breakdown.
“I called her mum and the next day we then took her to Bassetlaw Hospital.”
Suzanne stayed over the weekend but was discharged on the Monday, at the insistence of her family, the court heard, because they felt the ward was not pleasant for her.
“We took her home but she continued to behave oddly and seemingly still being paranoid and worried about things,” continued Mr Whyles.
“Then she seemed to get better for a time, but then got worse and worse again.”
“I thought it was down to stress and the fact we were moving house so I suggested she stay at her mums for a few days until the move was done, so she went there but then I got a phone call a few days later from her step-dad saying she tried to hang herself.”
Mr Whyles added in court that he had had no idea the sick pay money was still outstanding at the time she died as Suzanne had told him some time earlier, that it had been sorted.
Mr Whyles and Mr Ellis both felt that Suzanne should have been kept in hospital after she was first admitted and not allowed to be discharged and left in the care of the mental health crisis team.
But Dr Mohammed Eid, consultant psychiatrist at Bassetlaw Hospital, said the decision for Suzanne to be discharged had been the family’s alone and they had been happy to keep her on the ward.
He also responded to concerns from Mr Ellis and the coroner about poor communication between the hospital and Suzanne’s GP after it emerged in court that Suzanne’s GP, who had challenged her and raised concerns over the number of painkillers she had been taking a month before she died, had not been made aware she had even been admitted to hospital.
“When we get a patient in, we seek information on them from a variety of sources,” said Dr Eid.
“Unfortunately, this patient came in at 6pm on Friday evening, and the earliest opportunity we had to start getting information on her was the following Monday, by which time, she had been discharged.”
Deputy coroner for South Yorkshire, Mr Fred Curtis, is due to deliver his conclusion on Friday (4th July).