St Neots woman who took her own life had “struggled to come to terms with her father’s death”

Lawrence Court, in Huntingdon. Picture: Steve Williams.

Lawrence Court, in Huntingdon. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

A St Neots woman described as an “angel on earth” died after she took a massive overdose of anti-depressant tablets, an inquest has heard.

Sheryl Wonnacott’s body was discovered at her home in Alder Close, Eaton Ford, at just after 4pm on June 8 this year after her mother Jean raised the alarm as she had not heard from her daughter for two days.

The inquest heard that Miss Wonnacott, aged 49, had a history of mental health problems and was being treated under the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough mental health team based in Huntingdon. She had also been admitted to Hinchingbrooke Hospital in April after a suspected overdose of anti-depressant and anti-psychotic drugs. She told staff in the A & E department at the hospital that she had taken the tablets to help her sleep. She was later seen by adult physiatric nurse, Niki John, who told the inquest: “I challenged her rationale as she had taken a lot of tablets but was confident that it wasn’t a suicide attempt but a means of taking herself out of the equation. She had an active social life and was planning to do some voluntary work, there were lots of positives.”

The inquest heard that Miss Wonnacott had cancelled a scheduled appointment with the mental health team of June 4, but had a follow-up appointment on June 22.

The inquest heard from Jean Wonnacott, who said her daughter never got over her father’s death and that she worried that he knew how much his family loved him when he died.

Mrs Wonnacott said she saw her daughter most days and the pair chatted on the telephone every evening. She said Sheryl often described feeling that she was in an “awful black hole”.

“She said there was nothing there except this big black hole.”

Most Read

On Friday, June 4, Miss Wonnacott told her mother she wouldn’t see her the following day as she was going to Strawberry Fair, but she rang on the Saturday to say she didn’t feel well and wouldn’t be going.

Mrs Wonnacott told the inquest she became concerned when she couldn’t get hold of her daughter, who lived alone, over the weekend and she called police as she thought she might have been involved in a car accident.

“I didn’t think for one minute that she had taken pills, I just thought she was ill or had an accident,” she said.

A police officer went to the house and discovered Miss Wonnacott on the bathroom floor, surrounded by medication, she had also left a note in which she talked about wanting to be with her dad and arrangements for her funeral.

Mrs Wonnacott, added: She was a very caring person who was always trying to help others, and the underdogs. In one of the [condolence] cards I received it read ‘she was closest you would find to an angel on this earth’.

Mrs Wonnacott also said her daughter had concerns about possible changes to her benefits and had recently found a lump in her breast.

Coroner David Hemming said he had “no doubt” that Miss Wonnacott had intended to take her own life.

“There is no doubt, given the contents of the note and the other complex evidence that Sheryl did take her own life and my inescapable conclusion is one of suicide,” he said.