Eastbourne woman took her own life due to chronic pain, inquest hears

Eastbourne Town Hall
Eastbourne Town Hall

An Eastbourne woman suffering from chronic pain ended her own life, an inquest found.

Maureen Miller was described as ‘cheerful’, ‘well-liked’ and ‘very kind’ by those who knew her.

The 77-year-old died after taking a fatal overdose at her care home Elstree Court in Meads on January 5, the inquest at Eastbourne town hall heard.

Speaking afterwards, her sister-in-law Linda Miller and friend Kate Sewell said, “She was very well-liked. Very much her own person, very kind to all her friends and neighbours. She would do anything for anyone. Her family were a strong element of her life.”

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The inquest on Thursday (August 8) heard Ms Miller struggled with fibromyalgia, which causes chronic pain all over the body, for a long time.

Care home manager Yolanda De Castro described her as ‘cheerful’, ‘well spoken’, and ‘very independent’. She said at the inquest, “We didn’t expect she was going to do this to herself.”

While Ms Miller’s GP Andrew Stewart said in a statement that she had a number of friends who would visit her regularly.

He said, “She had never discussed taking her own life. I was shocked and surprised to hear she had been found dead with a note saying the ongoing pain was too much for her.”

Speaking during the inquest, Sandra Crofton said her friend’s death was a shock but she had seen another side to her.

She said, “She did talk generally about not being here anymore. She was a very proud person. I always thought she became depressed when her father died. She changed.

“The pain – she used to say ‘I don’t know how much longer I can stand this’.

“I saw her the week before she died. She said to me ‘I think I have just reached the end of my tether, my legs won’t hold me up any more’. She said ‘I’m just finished, I’m just going to be lying here’, which upset me because I thought she was just giving up.”

Coroner Alan Craze said “It’s quite clear this pain was very real.” He concluded she died by suicide.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, the Samaritans may be able to help – the charity’s helpline number is 116 123.