Librarian cried over closure of counselling

A 25-YEAR-OLD woman jumped from Beachy Head after her counselling was ‘abruptly’ stopped.

The two-day inquest into the death of Emilie Clark was held at Eastbourne Town Hall where the jury decided the Worthing woman had taken her own life on October 29, 2008.

Coroner Alan Craze was told Miss Clark, a library assistant from Peveral Road, had a depressive illness and was benefiting from counselling at a once-a-week clinic at Shepherd House.

Her counsellor Sarah Wild worked as a charge nurse at Shepherd House four days a week but ran a clinic for about four patients one day a week.

Ms Wild said Miss Clark was doing well and benefiting from the counselling, but it was stopped ‘abruptly’ by NHS managers because of concerns about governance.

Ms Wild told the coroner and the jury she was confused why her clinic, which had been running for around 18 months, had been ordered to close. She felt the closure was forcing her to work against her professional ethics.

She added, “I felt it was a risk to their safety to tell them that the service had been terminated.”

Ms Wild raised her concerns with the mangers but they continued with the closure. The inquest heard Miss Clark was distressed when Miss Wild invited her and other patients to the clinic to tell them the news.

She said, “Emilie was extremely distressed and I spent 45 minutes with her in tears. She was worried about how she was going to cope.”

Claude Caubet, Emilie’s mother, who wept as she took the oath, said, “She did not anticipate it and she was dumbfounded and quite distressed.

“We did talk, but she found it preferable to discuss aspects of her life with other people and she valued Sarah Wild’s presence in her life.”

On September 15, 2008, shortly after the closure, Emilie wrote a letter of complaint to John Rosser, the service director of Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust who was responsible for making the decision about the closure, saying she was ‘outraged and distressed over the callous way it had ended’.

She said it was ‘soul-wrenching’ and added, “I am shocked that people in a caring profession could be so heartless.”

The trust did not acknowledge her letter and Mr Rosser said it was not forwarded on to him.

Miss Clark was reported as missing by her mother on October 27, 2008.

Mrs Caubet became concerned and contacted the police.

Hours later, handwritten notes from Emilie were found in the home and her body was found at the foot of the notorious suicide spot.

Mr Craze asked the jury to consider whether neglect by the NHS had contributed to Miss Clark’s death but they recorded a narrative verdict which simply read, ‘the deceased took her life’.