Heartbroken woman found with knives and crushed tablets died from grief like Queen Victoria

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A HEARTBROKEN woman who was found unconscious with knives and crushed tablets died in similar circumstances to Queen Victoria, according to a coroner.

Waterlooville pensioner Daphne Bromback died aged 89 having suffered with ‘morbid grief’ after the sudden passing of her husband David of 62 years, who died two years before her on May 15 this year. 

A statue of Queen Victoria at the Portsmouth Guildhall

A statue of Queen Victoria at the Portsmouth Guildhall

An inquest into the pensioner’s death heard how outgoing and sociable Mrs Bromback’s ‘personality changed’ after plunging into a dark depression following the passing of her life-long partner.

Concerns over Mrs Bromback’s health had been ignited after her behaviour became increasingly erratic – including an occasion when she took an overdose of paracetamol before having a change of heart and calling the police.

Fears Mrs Bromback had made another attempt on her own life appeared a real possibility when she was discovered motionless by her son Kevin Bromback on the floor at her home. 

‘I returned to find her flat on her back. Her face and hair were covered in a dark liquid. I found knives with blood on them and three notes and crushed tablets by her bedside table,’ Mr Bromback told Portsmouth Coroner’s Court. 

After calling 999, paramedics rushed Mrs Bromback to Queen Alexandra Hospital following a suspected overdose where she was put in intensive care.

Doctors discovered Mrs Bromback had three cut marks to her neck. But scans revealed she had a ‘massive bleed on the brain’ that was ‘unsurvivable’. 

Pathologist Dr Adnan Al-Badri confirmed cuts to the neck and bruises to the wrists but concluded the cause of death was a brain haemorrhage. He also revealed the deceased had ‘serious heart problems’.

Mr Bromback added how his mum’s mood became bleak following the two-year anniversary of his dad’s death. ‘She was very agitated and upset,’ he said.

Describing his parent’s relationship, Mr Bromback said: ‘They were a devoted couple. They would go dancing three times a week and would enjoy socialising with friends.’

He added: ‘She was a very strong willed woman but was very lonely. Her personality changed (after her husband’s death).’

The inquest heard how Mrs Bromback was referred to the elderly mental health team by her GP and bereavement counsellors at Rowans Hospice following her partner’s death.

Coroner John Matthews said there was ‘no evidence of an overdose’ before concluding she died of natural causes after suffering a brain haemorrhage.

He said: ‘We still don’t understand grief. The loss of her husband after living together for more than 60 years was catastrophic. For the person left behind they can see no point in living.

‘This was a case of someone suffering with morbid grief. A classic case of this was Queen Victoria who never got over the death of her husband (Prince Albert).’

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Prince Albert died in 1861 at the age of 42 after being struck down with typhus. He had been married to Queen Victoria, with whom he had nine children, for 21 years. 

Queen Victoria died in January 1901, at the age of 81.