‘Fixation’ of canal plunge woman

NEWS: News.
NEWS: News.
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A WOMAN who died in a Doncaster canal had become ‘fixated’ with stopping some of the medication she received for her paranoid schizophrenia.

But Christine Starr, a 59-year-old clerical worker, gave no indication she intended to commit suicide in the River Don Navigation at Pastures Bridge, Mexborough, in March last year, a Doncaster inquest heard.

The hearing was told she had been treated successfully for her schizophrenia since 1997, with anti-psychotic injections she received every three weeks.

But she was also prescribed procyclidine tablets to counteract the side-effects of the injections and she became convinced she had been taking them too long.

Coroner Nicola Mundy called healthcare professionals to give evidence that they had told her it was safe to carry on taking the procyclidine, but she refused to take the pills any more.

Community mental health nurse Lynne Pinner said she tried to reassure Mrs Starr, ‘but she remained fixated’.

“I felt it proper to advise her of the risk of changing it abruptly,” she said. Mrs Pinner said she never saw any sign of suicidal behaviour and her death was ‘completely unexpected’.

Mrs Starr had complained of sleeplessness, nausea, a dry mouth, leg tremors and hallucinations before her death.

Her husband, Robert Starr, of Ravenfield Street, Denaby Main, said his wife believed a nurse had told her she shouldn’t take the drug for more than six months but he accepted the conversation may have been misinterpreted.

The coroner said Mrs Starr ‘clearly had an obsession about the length of time she was on it, and that led her to believe it was detrimental to her health’.

“I believe she took her own life and this was precipitated by her physical condition and her belief that she might become a burden to her husband,” said Ms Mundy, who told Mr Starr he should not think he was responsible for his wife’s actions.