Talented Royal Navy officer respected by crew died by suicide, coroner rules

A TALENTED Royal Navy officer recognised for her achievements took her own life after feeling like she was ‘letting others down,’ an inquest heard.

By Steve Deeks
Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, 3:28 pm
Updated Thursday, 24th June 2021, 8:50 am

Lieutenant Coral Crouch was found hanged in her Blenheim Court home, Southsea, by her mum on November 24 last year.

The dedicated 26-year-old, who had served in the navy for seven years, had opened up to her mum Jennifer Crouch in the period leading up to her death over her fears as she prepared to deploy to the Caribbean in July with RFA Argus having served on HMS Excellent.

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Coral Crouch

‘Coral was beginning to struggle with her job. She was always willing to take on extra,’ Mrs Crouch told Portsmouth Coroner’s Court.

‘She was taking on more and more and it got to the point where she was overloaded.’

Despite inner fears and ‘underlying anxiety,’ Lt Crouch was well regarded within the navy.

On her first job onboard HMS Montrose she ‘excelled’ in her logistics role and was given an award for her efforts.

She was also handed the distinguished Herbert Lott naval prize for her outstanding training at Dartmouth reflecting her ‘talent and commitment’.

The naval officer also competed in international dinghy events as far away as New Zealand.

Lt Crouch was being considered for fast-track promotion.

In summer 2020 she hit a turning point. She was deployed to the Caribbean on RFA Argus on July 20 when her grandfather died.

The former Portsmouth High School pupil saw a medical officer and she departed for the UK on July 31, before going on sick leave for seven days.

She had been planning to leave the Senior Service for a career in teaching.

The inquest heard she saw her mum on November 22 and told her of the anxiety she felt.

She was found hanged at her home by her mum two days later.

Coroner Jason Pegg recorded a conclusion of suicide and said: ‘It seems to me the navy managed her deployment well and as soon as there were any concerns over her fitness she was promptly returned to the UK and given medical assistance.

He added: ‘Coral had so much to live for. It is desperately sad what she did.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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