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Milford woman Anne Shotter (77) swam out to sea to die, inquest told



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A WOMAN who drowned off the coast between Milford and Barton had told friends she would end her life if she was diagnosed with a serious illness, Winchester Coroner's Court was told.

The body of Anne Shotter (77) was found on 12th August last year by swimmer Hugh Cairns about 100 yards off the shore from Taddiford Gap. He pulled her to the beach but she was already dead.

Friend Jean Robinson described how Anne, who she described as “artistic, slightly eccentric, with a heart of gold’, had previously told her she would drown herself if she became ill.

RNLI crew picked up the body of Anne Shotter at Taddiford Gap
RNLI crew picked up the body of Anne Shotter at Taddiford Gap

The inquest heard that the day before her death Anne had been told after a scan at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital that she may have mesothelioma cancer. A post-mortem examination confirmed the diagnosis.

Mrs Robinson, a friend of 15 years, said Anne had a "fear of being admitted to hospital" and that her mother had died of cancer. She had also cared for her dad when he was dying.

She said that Anne, who had swum at county level in her youth, had told her and other friends that if her quality of life became “poor” she would refuse treatment and “swim out to sea” to kill herself. She had also spoken about going to Switzerland to seek euthanasia.

Mrs Robinson said the last time she saw her friend was on 11th August last year. Speaking on the phone beforehand, Anne had started coughing so badly she could not continue speaking.

When Mrs Robinson arrived at Anne’s retirement flat at Homegrange House in Shingle Bank Drive, Milford, she found her looking “very ill”.

Mrs Robinson said: “She was very calm. It was like someone putting their things in order, as if she knew she had not got long to live.

“She said she had gone to hospital for investigations, and they were going to fit her with a tube and a bag. I think, for Anne, that was curtains.”

She described Anne as a "very private, independent person”. She had been advised that she would need home care but told Mrs Robinson: “No one’s coming over my door to look after me.”

Coroner Jason Pegg said that in a statement Anne’s GP had told how he had received a call in July from a warden at Homegrange with worries about her mental health. She was also on medication for depression.

Recording a verdict of suicide, Mr Pegg said it was clear one of Anne’s "greatest fears" was suffering a deterioration in her health and concluded that when she swam out to sea the “intention was to take her own life”.

The Samaritans can be contacted for support 24 hours a day on 116 123 or www.samaritans.org



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