Sarah Ghafoor was found dead at her home in Chandler’s Ford in Hampshire after over-dosing on anti-depressants
A mother died from an anti-depressant overdose six months after her son took his own life when a Facebook post accused him of harassing his former partner.
Sarah Ghafoor’s body was found in her bed at her home in Chandler’s Ford, Hampshire and her devastated family said that a Facebook post claiming her son Ben had harassed his ex-partner ‘signed both their death warrants’.
Her frustrated family revealed during an inquest that Sarah, 55, had been told by mental health professionals that she should ‘count vegetables’ when she felt overwhelmed by her son’s death.
Father-of-one Ben Ghafoor, 25, was scared the post would ‘ruin his life’ after it was widely shared online and died after he crashed his car into a tree at nearly 55mph.
His heartbroken mother Sarah was prescribed anti-depressants and was seen by mental health staff at Southern Health NHS Trust as she struggled to cope with her son’s suicide.
She made three attempts to take her own life after her son’s death on March 12 and was tragically found dead by her husband Afzal in her bed, having overdosed on anti-depressants six months later.
A coroner at Winchester Coroner’s Court, in Hampshire, examining her death could not determine whether she had intended to commit suicide and ruled that the ‘drug-related death’ came after Sarah took a combination of prescribed tablets.
Afzal became concerned when Sarah did not turn up for work at their car repair business on September 4 this year.
While the couple were separated, he remained close with her and went to her home to check she was okay.
She died just six months after her son Ben, 25 (pictured with his mother), killed himself when he was accused of harassing an ex-girlfriend
After letting himself in, he was horrified to discover her dead in her bed – where she had seemingly passed away in her sleep.
Mr Ghafoor said: ‘On August 31, Sarah purchased a kitten, I had not seen her as happy as that for a long time.
‘On September 4, I attended work but there was not sign of Sarah. I called her and got no answer. As the day went on, I became more worried.
‘I had a house key and I arrived at her home just after 4.30pm that day and let myself in. I called out and got no reply.
‘When I went upstairs I opened the bedroom door and saw her lying there. She was lying on her left side and I said ”come on, let’s have a cup of tea”.
‘I was going to walk away when I noticed she had not moved. I kissed her on the cheek and she was ice cold. It was at this point I knew she had passed away.’
Ben, a father-of-one, was accused of the harassment in a Facebook post that was widely shared
The inquest heard she had low levels of the anti-depressants Fluoxetine, Nortryptyline and Amitryptyline in her system, as well as painkiller dihydrocodeine, which had all combined to cause her death.
She suffered with depression for around 20 years and had previously made attempts to take her own life.
However, her family said this was only after she had drank alcohol.
On the night she died, a pathologist’s report confirmed she had not been drinking.
Her daughter-in-law Sally Ghafoor told the court Sarah had just wanted ‘someone to help her’ but had been let down by Southern Health.
Fighting back tears, her daughter-in-law told the inquest: ‘I called Southern Health begging for help and they were horrific to me on the phone. If there were like that to me, how would she have felt?
‘She would call me when she was getting upset and I would go straight round and sit up all night with her. Sarah would say she did not want Ben to be on his own. She just wanted to stop feeling the way she was feeling.
‘She wanted someone to help her, she wanted people to know the pain she was in and the only way she thought she could do that was to have a drink.
‘There was just no help, she should have been referred to grief counselling. Since her death, we have had a liaison from the mental health team and that was what she needed.
‘She needed someone she could phone, not someone who told her to count vegetables – her son had died.’
Daughter-in law Sally Ghafoor told the court Sarah had just wanted ‘someone to help her’ but had been let down by Southern Health Trust
Coroner Grahame Short concluded Mrs Ghafoor recorded a verdict of drug-related death but said he could not be sure what she was thinking and whether she intended to kill herself or not.
An inquest into her son’s death heard he ploughed his car into a tree at 54 mph hours after his ex-girlfriend’s social media post was shared 200 times and commented on more than 900 times.
In a statement released after Mrs Ghafoor’s inquest, her family said: ‘On March 12, 2018, a Facebook post was put up about Ben by his ex girlfriend.
‘This post was shared and commented on numerous amounts of times, causing Ben such anguish that he felt no other way out but to drive his car head on into a tree.
‘The ramifications of that post have not stopped there.
The devastated family added that the Facebook post signed the death warrants of both Sarah and Ben
‘On September 4, 2018, Sarah, our beloved wife, mother, sister, step mother and Nanny was found dead at home in her bed.
‘The pain from losing Ben meant Sarah found life difficult to cope with, losing a child is something no parent should have to go through.
‘The Facebook post not only signed Ben’s death warrant, it also signed Sarah’s too. Sarah’s heart was broken.
‘Sarah was a funny, kind and courageous lady, with an amazing sense of humour. Anyone who met her would tell you what a wonderful person she was.
Sarah struggled to cope after her son’s death and tried to kill herself several times – though a coroner didn’t rule her death as suicide
‘Once again we would urge people to stop and think before posting, sharing or commenting on social media.
‘Our family has been torn apart, Christmas is a time for families and we are now facing a Christmas missing two very special family members.
‘The void they leave can never be filled.’
For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, see www.samaritans.org for details.