Mother, 27, hanged herself while family slept after being sacked from job at a doctors’ surgery

Victoria Pocock, 27, was found hanging at her home in Lambourn, near Hungerford in Berkshire, in April. A coroner has recorded her death as a suicide

A young mother hanged herself after she was sacked from her job at a doctor’s surgery, an inquest heard today.

Victoria Pocock killed herself at her home in Lambourn, near Hungerford in Berkshire, while her partner and their infant son were asleep upstairs.

The 27-year-old was found hanging at the bottom of the stairs by her partner, who quickly put their 18-month-old son back to bed before dialling 999.

The coroner heard that the operator told James Smith to cut his partner down and to start CPR but despite his best efforts and those of paramedics who later arrived, Miss Pocock was declared dead at the scene.

The inquest heard how Miss Pocock had battled depression for a number of years and had recently lost her cleaning job at a GP surgery.

A statement from Dr Christa Teplicky was read out by Senior Berkshire Coroner Heidi Connor.

Dr Teplicky said: ‘Miss Pocock had been employed by a cleaning company that worked at the GP surgery. The last time she was seen as a patient at the clinic was on March 7, but she was seen afterwards in the evenings when she was cleaning.

‘She had a son who was born in September 2016 and she reported having a good relationship with him.

‘Her main complaint was that she struggled to sleep. She was prescribed the anti-depressant Citalopram, as well as Zopiclone, a sleeping medication.

‘When I saw her in December 2017 she reported she was feeling much better and said she was looking forward to Christmas.’

Miss Pocock had recently lost her cleaning job at a doctor's surgery

The young mother had been prescribed anti-depressant Citalopram and tests after she died showed a 'high therapeutic amount' in her blood

Miss Pocock’s partner James Smith found her at the bottom of the stairs after waking up when he heard their 18-month-old son crying in his bedroom. The inquest heard how he started to do CPR but paramedics declared life extinct when they arrived

Miss Pocock’s partner, Mr Smith, woke up at 8.30am to hear their young son crying from his bedroom. When he picked up the tot he looked down the stairs to see the boy’s mother hanging.

The coroner, sitting in Reading, Berkshire, heard that Mr Smith put his son back to bed and called 999.

Detective Constable Philip Stephens went to the scene and also provided a report for Mrs Connor.

He said: ‘Mr Smith arrived back home on April 19 at about 11:30pm and he found Miss Pocock drinking Corona beer. They went to bed and, at approximately 1:30am, Mr Smith woke up and his partner was still asleep next to him.

‘At 8.30am he awoke to his son crying and went to get him up. He then noticed Miss Pocock’s body at the bottom of the stairs.

‘He put his son back in his room and called 999. The operator instructed him to cut the cord around Miss Pocock’s neck and to start CPR.

‘Paramedics attended the scene but she was declared life extinct at 9:09am on April 20. When I arrived at the scene the deceased was lying on the floor. There were no apparent self-defence marks. 

‘Two red-inked letters were found, which were suicide notes. There was sad music playing from the television. It was ‘How to Save a Life’, possibly the band The Fray.’

Miss Pocock also sent a text to her mother at 06:07am, in which she said she was struggling.

According to Mrs Connor, the contents of the two red letters ‘set out a clear intention [Miss Pocock] intended to end her life.’

A toxicology report found that Miss Pocock had 183 mg of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood in her system when she died, which was just over twice the legal limit of 80mg per 100ml.

Cocaine was also found in her blood stream, as well as a ‘high therapeutic amount’ of anti-depressant Citalopram.

A post mortem examination gave the medical cause of death as compression of the neck by ligature.

Mrs Connor said: ‘In the case of Victoria Pocock I record a conclusion of suicide.

‘Miss Victoria Pocock, of Woodbury, Lambourn, died on April 20, 2018. I would like to pay tribute to the family for the huge degree of dignity the have displayed. 

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