Stressed worker hanged herself

A STRESSED social worker hanged herself from a bridge hours after storming out of her sister's home.

Helen Boulton, aged 38, of Carterknowle, Sheffield, was separated from husband Andrew but he told an inquest they stayed on extremely good terms.

He said she found her job very stressful at times and she had been prescribed anti-depressants.

But he added: "She seemed to have turned the corner."

Mr Boulton last saw her on July 8 when she visited his home.

"We had a wonderful walk around the park. She had been in good spirits the entire week.

"When she died it came as a complete and utter surprise - she had never given any indication she might self-harm," he told the Chesterfield inquest.

Her sister, Anne Llewellyn-Jones, said Mrs Boulton had looked after her home for a week while she was on holiday.

"I got back on July 9 and my sister was still there. I had''t seen her that happy in a long time.

"She said she had had several friends round during the week and the situation with Mr Boulton was good," said Mrs Llewellyn-Jones.

"We went shopping and, during the evening, she drank a fair amount of wine. She started talking about her son and then she suddenly started screaming at me and left, taking all her belongings."

Mrs Boulton left her sister's Sheffield home at about 2am and later sent her a phone text message, to which Mrs Llewellyn-Jones did not reply.

At 7.30am that morning, Stephen Richards was walking along a footbridge over the A61 Dronfield bypass when he spotted a blue rope tied to the bridge.

He told police he looked down and saw a figure on the ground, adding that the rope appeared to be broken. Mrs Boulton's Ford Fiesta was found parked nearby.

Pathologist Dr Karen Ramsden gave the cause of death as hanging. Post-mortem tests showed that Mrs Boulton, off Carterknowle Road, had drunk the equivalent of almost double the drink-driving limit.

North Derbyshire coroner Tom Kelly initially recorded an open verdict. He said the alcohol could have affected her judgement and the text message did not specifically state she intended to commit suicide. But he changed his mind after Mr Boulton showed him entries from her diary which the coroner had not previously seen.

"This makes a difference. This has made up my mind and I record a verdict that she took her own life," said Mr Kelly.