Pregnant Mom With Severe Post-Natal Depression Hanged Herself In Cupboard

March 11, 2017
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Kate Willcocks, a pregnant mother suffering from severe post-natal depression, hanged herself just a few weeks before she was due to give birth to her second child.

The 36-year-old was found hanging inside a cupboard while 30-weeks pregnant with her second child- a baby boy who also died.

Willcocks had battled postnatal depression for 5 months following the birth of her daughter Iris in 2014.

After regular therapy sessions and regular contact with nurses, Doctors were convinced she was getting better.

Southwark Coroner’s Court ruled that the occupational therapist committed suicide. Court records say that she had tried to take her own life previously as a ‘cry for help’.

Her husband Stuart Willcocks, of Lewisham, said: ‘It was a tough time because she had two incidents prior to her admission to hospital.

‘She had attempted to overdose on her medication. I talked to her about it and we tried to get help, I am not sure she intended to take her own life, I think it was a cry for help. She had severe depression, she closed in on herself, I last spoke to her on the morning of her death and she was quite distant.

‘She gave no indication that she was going to take her life.’ 

Stuart said that after her initial five months treatment Kate appeared to be recovered but when she became pregnant her condition seemed to deteriorate and she sought help.

After finding out she was pregnant in January 2016, she was referred to A&E but eventually was referred to the Maudsley psychiatric unit, where she received treatment between April and June.

Stuart told the inquest: ‘It was difficult to get back into the NHS we were just referred to A&E.

‘She had severe postnatal depression with our first born but she recovered from that after about five months.We finally got back into the NHS and we received specialist help.’

On 12 August 2016 Kate was found hanging inside a cupboard at her home in Lewisham, south east London.

She had left two handwritten notes which read: ‘Stuart, do not come in, I am sorry.’ Another read: ‘I am sorry for everything, you are amazing, I wish I could turn back time.’

Court records say Kate had attempted to undergo several terminations including one at 24 weeks but was unable to go through with it.

Consultant psychiatrist Dr Anupama Yadava saw Kate between last year and said the mother had been looking forward to the baby. She said: ‘When I saw her at 28 weeks she was looking forward to the baby, she was looking forward to the things she had to do.’

Senior coroner Dr Andrew Harris asked if the 30 week period is recognised as being a particular risk, she replied that the risk of depression was greater.

She said: ‘Fluid intake is increased in the third trimester and it was likely that she would get more depressed.

‘We were very aware that in the third trimester the risk of a relapse are higher, it is a greater risk.’

Dr Yadava said the previous attempts were serious but when she saw Kate on July 29 there was ‘no indication to harm herself or the baby.

‘She seemed positive and felt that the scans had all gone well and she was planning ahead.

‘I felt that she was in the early stages of recovery and I believed her. She said Iris was her motivating factor and that she could not do that to her family.’

Reading the statement from paramedic Kevin Perera Dr Harris said: ‘The call was made at 19.12pm and they arrived at the scene at 19.17pm.

‘No treatment was possible, she had died some time ago.’

Dr Harris said in his conclusion: ‘There was no indication of anyone else being involved.‘Her depression was accompanying her imminent birth. How cruel it is for the family that the child will not know her mother.’

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