A “beautiful” mother-of-one accidentally ended her own life after writing a note on the walls of her home saying “don’t let my nana see me like this”, an inquest heard.
Carly Hemmings, 26, took a “grave risk” and hadn’t meant to take her own life, a coroner said.
The devoted mum had struggled with her mental health over the last few years, as well as alcohol dependency.
But it all came to a devastating end in December last year when she was found hanging at home, Chronicle Live reports.
A message had been written on the walls saying: “Don’t let my nana see me like this. Tell my son I love him.”
Carly was a devoted mum to her son Mason and a caring nursing assistant who “could have achieved so much”, her grieving family has said.
An inquest heard that on December 11, Carly rang police and said: “Can you do me a favour? I don’t want my nana to find us.”
But she did not say anything else and would not give her name or address to the call handler.
When police arrived at her home in Ryton on Tyne and Wear an hour later, they found her hanging.
A toxicology report showed she had high levels of alcohol in her system at the time.
The inquest heard that Carly had suffered from mental health issues for several years which appeared to stem from an episode of postnatal depression, and had been admitted to hospital previously after attempted overdoses.
Her GP, Dr Elsa Randles, told the hearing that “when sober, Carly wasn’t suicidal”.
But, Dr Randles, said: “When she had upsetting news, she started drinking alcohol, which would progress to the use of drugs or self-harming.”
The inquest heard in the weeks leading up to her death Carly had suffered a catalogue of heartbreaking setbacks, including a custody battle over her son and the news that police would not be prosecuting a man suspected of sexually assaulting her.
On December 6, 2017, Carly was admitted to A&E at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead after an episode of self-harm, where she was assessed by two mental health nurses, including Val Tippings.
Ms Tippings said Carly was initially “hostile”, but by the end of the assessment had agreed to be referred to the community mental health team, and was “future orientated” and “supportive” of the plan for her mental health care.
But just less than a week later, Carly was discovered at home by police officers after calling them to ask for “a favour”.
The inquest heard Carly made the call at 9.05am and police arrived at her house at 10.03am, gaining entry 10 minutes later.
PC Andrew Strachan described how he and paramedics attempted to revive her with CPR, but to no avail.
Her family questioned why, given her history of potential suicide attempts, the call was given a ‘grade two’ priority, which has a response time of an hour, rather than ‘grade one’, which has a response time of 10 minutes.
But Paul Whittaker, an investigator from the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) found no issue with the grading “based on the information the call handlers and officers had at the time”.
Mr Whittaker told the inquest: “They acted in accordance with the policies and procedures of Northumbria Police.”
Coroner Terence Carney ruled that Carly’s death was accidental, saying he did not believe she intended to take her own life.
Mr Carney said on previous occasions when she had overdosed or self-harmed she “was looking for some support, some protection”.
He said: “She displayed emotionally unstable personality traits and clearly had been beset by a number of personal crises. There were instances where life was getting too much for her.
“I don’t believe at any stage she intended to die or that she wanted to die. Sadly she took a grave risk that day.
“She had taken on board a substantial amount of alcohol which had impaired her thinking.”
Carly’s family spoke of their frustration that they will “never know” what was going through her mind that day.
Her grandfather Frank Hemmings said: “We do get upset, we do feel as if we could have done more if we had known the full extent of her problems, but she was such a proud person and I don’t think she liked asking for help.”
The family also called for “more communication between mental health organisations”, and welcomed evidence from the Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Trust that they have made some improvements, including having psychiatric support within the mental health liaison team.
Mr Hemmings said: “These things will help other people with mental health problems – it’s too late for Carly but hopefully it will help other people.”
And he said the family would always remember her as a “beautiful girl with an infectious smile and sense of humour”.
A family statement said: “This year has been a long and emotional one. Today may give us some closure, however she will be in our thoughts for ever.
“Carly suffered with mental health problems, which eventually took her life.
“We remember Carly as a daughter, sister, granddaughter, cousin and, most of all, a loving mother to Mason, who was only six when his mam was taken from him.”
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If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at email@example.com