Redundancy sparked Exmouth woman’s suicide

15:24 15 January 2013

County Hall, Exeter

County Hall, Exeter


An Exmouth woman killed herself after being made redundant. Her work was a ‘lifeline’ away from her husband, who has mental health issues, the inquest heard.

An Exmouth woman left notes and Christmas presents for loved ones before taking a fatal overdose, an inquest has heard.

Lisa Jane Jarvis, 44, was found dead at her home in Mount Pleasant Avenue on April 11, 2012.

Dr Elizabeth Earland, coroner for Exeter and greater Devon, recorded a verdict of suicide after a post-mortem found Mrs Jarvis had toxic levels of paracetemol and a tranquiliser in her blood.

Dr Earland said she was ‘satisfied beyond reasonable doubt’ Mrs Jarvis ingested a fatal overdose with the intention of taking her own life.

“She left several notes indicating her intention,” the coroner said.

The inquest heard how Mrs Jarvis hit a low point in her life after losing her job as an ID and passport service manager – after 17 years with the civil service - when the firm IPS decided to close the office in Exeter.

Mrs Jarvis’s mother, Roberta Cotterill, said her daughter had also been under a huge strain, dealing with her husband Paul’s escalating mental health problems.

She said her daughter and son-in-law had been ‘badly served’ by Social Services and their GP.

“His behaviour was having a huge affect on her well-being,” said Mrs Cotterill. “She was begging for help from the Crisis Team.

“Paul was having more and more psychotic episodes, taking more and more drugs and drinking heavily. Help was not forthcoming.”

Mrs Cotterill said her daughter ‘lost confidence and ‘life essence’ when the decision was made to close the passport office.

She said her daughter believed the Crisis Team, for people with severe mental health issues, was ‘useless’; experimenting with husband Paul’s medication.

“The Crisis Team was visiting regularly but they failed to pick up on Lisa’s despair,” said Mrs Cotterill.

The inquest heard how Mrs Jarvis had a ‘strong work ethic’; her job had been a ‘lifeline to the outside world’.

Colleagues said she barely took any leave, preferring to work than deal with her husband’s problems at home.

An email sent by Mrs Jarvis to a work colleague revealed how her husband was ‘going down hill drastically’.

“She was always trying to get Paul admitted to a mental health team, said the co-worker.

“She was crying out for help and it was not taken seriously,” a colleague said.

Mrs Jarvis took a fatal overdose while her husband was visiting family in Cambridge.

Police found her dead in the bathroom when family raised concerns they were unable to contact her.

Nearby were a collection of sealed envelopes addressed to family members, plus one for the coroner.

There were also wrapped Christmas presents for loved-ones.


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