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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

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Cumbrian dentist hanged herself due to worries at work

A popular Cockermouth dentist took her own life after becoming increasingly worried and anxious about issues in her professional life, an inquest heard.

Helen Siddle photo
Helen Siddle

Helen Siddle, 51, was found dead in her home in Dean on March 10 last year by her husband Shakir Rajput.

Mrs Siddle, who had three daughters, Alexandra, Kate and Georgia, had run the Helen Siddle Dental Surgery on Kirkgate for around 20 years.

Coroner David Roberts recorded his verdict of suicide after hearing evidence relating to Mrs Siddle’s state of mind in the months prior to her death and a number of things that had been troubling her.

Mrs Siddle, who was found hanged in the garage at her home, had been very ill with swine flu over the Christmas period and had returned to her practice before she had fully recovered.

She had become worried about some dental work she had carried out on her daughter Georgia despite reassurances from colleagues and family members that she had done nothing wrong.

She had visited her GP at Derwent House Surgery several times towards the end of January suffering from anxiety.

On the evening of January 24 she attended her surgery and took an overdose of a sedative and subsequently crashed her car on a country lane.

She was referred to the First Steps counselling service following the crash. She also received support from the local Practitioner Advice and Support Scheme (PASS).

The day before she died she was told by a member of the scheme that she would have to have a meeting with the committee before returning to work.

Mr Rajput told the inquest: “She told me about the meeting and seemed very troubled by it, she was very anxious.

“Alex and I assured her it was just a meeting to make sure she was fit for work.

“Prior to that she was starting to improve and things seemed fairly normal with her.

“She had some worries about her time off and her friends were very supportive and we worked out a plan and she was reassured by this.”

Mr Rajput said that on the morning of March 10 everything had seemed normal and he returned home from work a little later than usual after receiving a text from Mrs Siddle asking him to pick up some cat food.

He could not find her in the house and became concerned when he saw a note on her bed that read “the day didn’t start with this in mind” and then stopped as though her pen had ran out. He searched the house again and found her body in the garage.

He said: “I thought the incident in January was a cry for help. Helen was a very clever woman, if she wanted to take her life she knew what to do about it.“She was always a worrier, as strong as she was she didn’t have self-belief. “Personally I thought she was in control of everything, it came totally out of the blue.”

In giving his verdict Mr Roberts said that Mrs Siddle had received a great deal of support from her GP, the PASS scheme, family and friends and had seemed to be getting back to normal.

He added: “It seems clear that in that morning she had no intention of doing what she did but something happened in the course of the day that changed her mind. My assessment of that is that she must have been dwelling again on the return to work interview and matters with the police.”

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