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Lymington woman Carolyn Gibbons died from accidental overdose

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A “KIND and caring” Lymington woman with a complex mental health disorder may have killed herself by mistake, an inquest heard.

Carolyn Gibbons (31), who had been diagnosed with emotionally unstable personality disorder, lived in supported accommodation in North Street, Lymington, when she died in 2019.

Winchester Coroners’ Court heard how she had a history of self-harm and taking overdoses, but spoke openly about her conditions and would often “self rescue” by making people aware of what she had done shortly after.

The hearing took place at Winchester Coroners' Court
The hearing took place at Winchester Coroners' Court

On the day of her death on 12th September 2019 she had spoken with a friend on the telephone at about 12.30pm and said she was having a “really, really bad day” and was feeling low.

The inquest heard the friend got in touch with staff at the supported accommodation who spoke with her.

A statement from the manager, Craig Richardson, said she was sitting on her bed and appeared well when he arrived.

He asked repeatedly if she had taken anything or needed medical assistance and she said no.

He added: “On previous occasions when Carolyn had taken substances she would come over to the office and tell us. As she looked well and said she hadn’t taken anything, I returned to the office.”

Shortly after, Carolyn called the office to say she had taken something harmful.

When Mr Richardson returned and asked what she had taken, she told him it was a chemical which is commonly used to preserve and cure meat products.

He noticed that next to her bed there was a bag which was labelled as containing the substance.

Carolyn had taken an overdose of the same chemical in July that year, the inquest heard, but in a discussion with her father afterwards said that she had not wanted to die but was unable to stop herself.

Pathologist Dr Adrian Bateman said her cause of death was due to poisoning from the meat-curing chemical.

Toxicology results showed levels in her body associated with fatality.

A statement from her family described Carolyn, who had one day hoped to become a teacher, as “kind, caring, funny and intelligent”.

Coroner Rachel Spearing recorded a verdict of misadventure and said: “Carolyn had a very complex mental health disorder. Despite attempts to self-rescue, the overdose was fatal.

“I am not satisfied, due to her previous history, that she intended to kill herself.”

* The Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or at www.samaritans.org

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