Coroner rules woman, 66, took her own life

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A SON has described how he fears his mum took her own life after struggling to come to terms with her husband’s death.

Heather Harley was found by passers-by face down in water in Titchfield on June 25 last year.

At an inquest into her death at Portsmouth Guildhall, the court heard how the 66-year-old from Titchfield had suffered from mental health problems and had been prescribed antidepressants following her husband’s death years before.

Police were called to Meon Shore in Titchfield where her body was found in the water.

Her clothes and shoes had been left at the shore.

Police said they believed there were no suspicious circumstances.

Giving evidence, son Adam Harley said: ‘She would wander off in the middle of the night. On a number of occasions I believe the police brought her back.

‘I think the intention was there. It was the way my mum was. If she wanted to do it, she would have done it.

‘I don’t know and I will never know if she meant to do it or not but I feel in my heart she had had enough.

‘It’s a brave person who can do that.

‘When my dad passed away, she never recovered from that.’

David Horsley, coroner for Portsmouth and south east Hampshire said: ‘It’s beyond reasonable doubt that she’s done it because she had severe mental health problems.

‘In fairness to your mum and the whole family we should recognise that she has taken her own life while suffering from a severe psychiatric illness.

‘From the way the evidence is presented to me, that’s the way it seems to be.

‘I’m so awfully sorry. It’s very sad. It must have been so difficult for everyone who cared for her to see her like that.’

The coroner recorded a verdict that Mrs Harley had taken her own life.