Suicide tragedy

A 56-year-old woman suffering depression killed herself with a lethal dose of alcohol mixed with prescription drugs.

Roberta Hyland never recovered from the breakdown of her marriage and became an alcoholic who drank "at least" a bottle of whisky a day.

This week a Hastings inquest heard how she told her mother she intended to committ suicide and was saving up tablets to do so.

Deputy Coroner Miss Joanna Pratt said the pathologist report showed high levels of alcohol in her body as well as citalopram and zopiclone.

There were 457 milligrams of alcohol to 100 millilitres of blood.

Mrs Mollie Innocent, of Cantelupe Road, told how her daughter, a retired care assistant, began drinking heavily following her divorce.

She said: "She always liked her drink, but she became dependant on it.

"She drank all the time - she put whisky in her coffee in the morning and went on from there...at least a bottle of whisky a day.

"She was very depressed, very dependant, and I knew she was saving tablets - she told me.

"She always told me she was going to do what she did."

Mrs Hyland had attempted suicide before, according to her GP, when she slashed her wrists in August 2003. Dr Eaton thought she had never come to terms with her divorce and she recently had begun new treatment for depression.

On the morning of May 2, Mrs Innocent rang her daughter at 8.30 and left a message to say she was coming over on the Asda bus and would bring some fish.

She arrived at the house at approximately 1pm and let herself in using her own key.

"The dogs greeted me. I said - where's Mummy?"

When her daughter didn't call out, Mrs Innocent went into the kitchen to put her shopping down, and found a suicide note in which Mrs Hyland expressed the hope she had taken enough tablets.

"Obviously I knew she had done what she had been threatening to do.

From there I went upstairs."

When coroners officer Robert Greenall attended the scene he met Mrs Innocent, and also the deceased's daughter, Amber Hyland.

He said the body was found lying on the bed and looked "as if she was asleep".

He noted a pint mug and a half pint mug near the body, an empty one and a half litre bottle of whisky in the kitchen, with other whisky and sherry bottles, and empty packets of tablets in the bin including nurofen and ibuprofen.

The coroner said: "I am satisfied that she intended to take her own life".

She recorded a verdict of suicide and offered her condolences to Mrs Innocent and other family members.