Dental nurse Dawn Cheetham, 43, had overcome cancer in 2015, but hanged herself this year. She is pictured with her partner, Jonathan Mellor, in an undated photo
A mother-of-one who beat breast cancer hanged herself in her daughter’s wardrobe after wrongly believing it had returned, an inquest heard.
Dental nurse Dawn Cheetham, 43, had overcome the disease with chemotherapy in 2015 but became worried after she started developing pains and cramps in her stomach.
On July 15 this year, Miss Cheetham had an argument with her partner Jonathan Mellor when he went out with his friends instead of having a date night with her.
She was later found dead at their home in Wardle, Greater Manchester, after he was forced to kick in the door when he found himself locked out of the house for over 24 hours. Miss Cheetham was not taking calls.
A post mortem examination showed there were no traces of cancerous cells.
The Heywood hearing was told Miss Cheetham and Mr Mellor had been together for 17 years and had been living together since 2010. They had a daughter together who is now eight.
The Heywood, Greater Manchester hearing was told Miss Cheetham and Mr Mellor had been together for 17 years. Pictured in an undated photo with their daughter
Mr Mellor said: ‘Dawn was bubbly, a good laugh and a lovely lady. But in 2014, she was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. She had chemotherapy and she got through it. But, this was constantly on her mind and it was a major issue.
‘Every little bit of pain or a stomach cramp, she thought it was the cancer coming back – and I think that’s why she did what she did.’
Mr Mellor described her as a ‘hard grafter’ who would always help cover other people’s shifts and work later.
‘Everyone knew she was really good at her job and she took it really seriously, maybe a little bit too seriously,’ he said. ‘She was really fatigued, she would have two to three hours sleep but, because of how she was, she would go straight into work.’
The last time he saw her wife was on July 13.
‘I went out for a few drinks and she phoned my parents and my father came and got me and I went home and we had a bit of an argument and I stormed off,’ he said. ‘I just went back to the pub, had a drink and calmed myself down.
‘I came home after last orders at about 12am. I tried to get in the house but I couldn’t as she had left the keys in the front door. I thought she did it as punishment, so I just slept in the car – but woke up at about 5am and I went back to the house and knocked on the door, but got no answer.
‘I then put the ladders up to the back bedroom window but it was shut. I tried ringing her too, but there was no answer. So, I went to my parents – I just didn’t think there was any cause for concern – I just thought she was just being stubborn.’
Ms Cheetham and Mr Mellor seen together on holiday in an undated photo
His mother went around to the house and realised something was wrong, so Mr Mellor joined her and started banging on the door.
‘I kicked the door through and went upstairs and I walked into my little girl’s room and I found her,’ he said.
‘When they did the post-mortem, she didn’t have one tiny bit of cancer in her body.’
Dr Sarah Kelly, a psychologist at Pennine Care, said Miss Cheetham asked for counselling, and attended her first session on July 9.
‘She engaged well with that process and asked if future sessions could be held on a Monday due to her work schedule,’ Dr Kelly said.
‘No concerns were raised about her posing a risk to herself or others. Dawn, unfortunately, did not attend the second treatment session because she had already passed away.’
Recording a conclusion of death by suicide, coroner Lia Hashmi said: ‘I think the argument with Jonathan was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
‘I think it was an accumulation of events that will have led to the significant variation in her state of mind.’
Mr Mellor described his partner as a ‘hard grafter’ who would always help cover other people’s shifts and work later. Image undated
The coroner called Miss Cheetham as ‘dedicated, hard-working and intelligent woman’.
‘I am quite sure that all the issues, including her cancer and depression, had a significant variation on her mind; but it can’t be said for sure if one, or even any, brought about the circumstances of her death,’ she said.
‘She identified the problem and worked with a therapist, but, regrettably, she died before the second session.
‘I am satisfied that she took her own life, but the intention remains unclear. I want to put on the record my condolences to you – I know your pain will never go away.’