AN ACCOUNTS manager from Andover took her own life after suffering anxiety and depression in the wake of a heart attack, a coroner ruled.

Winchester Coroner’s Court heard that Sandra Elizabeth Perren died of a fatal stab wound to the heart at her home on Weyhill Road on Saturday, 10 October.

Senior Coroner Grahame Short read out a letter from Mrs Perren’s GP, Malcolm Stone, of St Mary’s Surgery, detailing how the 68-year-old had suffered a cardiac arrest and a minor stroke in recent months.

She was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and had a defibrillator fitted to her heart.

The inquest heard how following her heart surgery she developed anxiety and fixated on her physical health, having no previous history of mental health issues.

In August she took an overdose of her heart medication and her husband took her to the minor injuries unit at Andover War Memorial Hospital where she was assessed and then admitted to Parklands Hospital in Basingstoke for psychiatric care.

In the days before her death she had been on leave from Parklands as part of a gradual return to home programme.

On Thursday, October 8, she had been admitted to the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester after suffering an anxiety attack, causing her to hyperventilate, which then activated her defibrillator.

Following an overnight stay, with consultations between nursing staff and Mrs Perren’s consultant psychiatrist Dr Tracey Eddy, she was discharged home and had a check-up at Parklands the same day.

The inquest heard evidence from PC Andrew White, of Andover Police, who attended their Weyhill Road home on the morning of her death.

He told Mr Short how Mr Perren had said that she had woken around 7am and gone downstairs to make him a drink.

PC White said: “He then fell asleep and didn’t wake up until about 9am.

He then realised that the door to the bathroom was closed, when he checked it was locked. He could hear moaning coming from behind the door.”

Describing how officers arrived at the house 50 minutes later, he continued: “By the time we attended the address, Mr Perren had managed to get into the bathroom with a screwdriver and found that his wife was deceased.”

Consultant pathologist Dr Adnan AlBadri confirmed that there were knife wounds to her wrists and forearms but it was one of four stab wounds to her chest that proved to be fatal.

A toxicology report by Dr Peter Streete found that there was only evidence of her heart medication in her system.

Dr Tracey Eddy gave evidence that since Mrs Perren’s first attempt to take her life she had responded well to treatment at Parklands, she was gradually returning to her home life with short periods of leave and there were no indications that she would try to harm herself again.

Concluding, she said: “All the staff were extremely shocked, they had obviously seen her a lot of times and everybody has reflected, thinking what we could have done differently and we just don’t know.”

Dr Sarah Constantine was the investigating officer on behalf of Southern Health who investigated whether there were any gaps in Mrs Perren’s care and she confirmed that no failings in clinical care were found.

Recording a conclusion of suicide, Mr Short said: “I have to say, having dealt with a number of deaths that involve mental illness, this is the first case I can recall where there has not been a previous indication of one kind or another and no mention of any history of self harm or suicidal tendencies until just before her death.”

Expressing his sympathy to Mrs Perren’s family, who were not present, he said: “I have found that she died as a result of suicide. I could not think of anything more devastating than finding one’s partner in the bath in those sort of circumstances and I can well understand that Mr Perren must be completely shocked.”