Suicide victim had been at ‘all-time low’

A ‘KIND and gentle’ Eastbourne woman with a history of mental health issues hanged herself at home the day after coming out of hospital.

Petra Rayment, who had hit ‘an all-time low’, was found at the Princes Road property after police were called to check on the 49-year-old’s welfare.

An inquest into the company director’s death was held at Eastbourne Magistrates Court yesterday (Thursday) and heard how she had taken an overdose of paracetamol, with the amount in her blood six times the regular therapeutic level. She also had some alcohol in her system.

Mrs Rayment, who lived with her son Craig, had taken overdoses in 2006 and 2010 and had previously been diagnosed with a schizoid personality disorder.

The inquest heard she was sectioned at the DGH between April 12 and May 12 last year.

After this period she had support from the Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment Team who oversaw her taking of medication.

Her niece Roxy Murphy who used to visit Mrs Rayment along with her sister Tara Murphy, said her aunt had not been herself, adding, “She tried to hire the Congress to hold concerts thinking she was a superstar. She was as high as a kite.

“It wasn’t Petra – she was a happy person but things she was doing were off the wall.”

She told the inquest her aunt had said she wanted to die and didn’t want to live with the illness and there had been concerns over dealings with the benefits agency.

She went back into hospital on June 5 but wanted to leave several days later.

Dr Adrian Galea, a consultant psychiatrist, said that he tried to persuade her to stay but she did not want to.

He came to the conclusion he should not detain her after speaking to her and considering there was not an immediate risk and that she would have contact twice a day.

She was seen by community mental health nurse Annick Foster-Smith on the morning of her death but later that evening when a support recovery worker tried to visit there was no answer at the door or from her mobile.

Police were contacted and she was found hanging upstairs in the home.

Paul Beynon, who carried out a Serious Untoward Incident review, concluded that there was a missed opportunity to engage Mrs Rayment fully when there had been reported concerns to the community mental health team.

But he added that the care from the crisis home team had been of a consistently high standard.

He said a conversation the Eastbourne resident had with a chaplain about whether she would go to heaven and hell was not on electronic records.

A policy is now in place to ensure this happens.

Deputy Coroner Joanna Pratt recorded a verdict of suicide.

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