Teaching assistant found hanged: inquest

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A loving mother hanged herself at home in Burnley after a year-long battle with depression.

Mother-of-two Mrs Jacqueline Gallagher (51) was found by her father, Colin Robinson, hanging by a dressing gown cord at her home in Townfield Avenue on November 13th last year.

An inquest heard that Mrs Gallagher, who was a popular teaching assistant at St Mary’s RC Primary School, Holcombe Drive, had hanged herself while her husband Eric was at work and her father was walking the dog.

Her husband of more than 20 years, Mr Eric Gallagher, told the inquest at Burnley Coroner’s Court that her emotional health had started to decline following the death of her mother in December, 2013.

He said: “Jacqueline was a home-maker, very house-proud and a good mother.

“She was a private person but was very close to her sister, Debbie, and her father Colin lived with us.

“Jacqueline had been a dental nurse for many years but she had problems when that job came to an end. She really started to decline after the death of her mother. She developed severe anxiety and was struggling to cope.”

The inquest heard how Mrs Gallagher was prescribed anti-depressant medication in April last year, but would quite often change her medication, fearing the different side-effects.

In June she told her husband that she had taken too many tablets and a week later she was found at home with a cord around her neck, but was stopped in time.

As a result, she was admitted to hospital.

Community mental health nurse Louise Pickles told the hearing that she visited Mrs Gallagher several times at home following her discharge from hospital.

Mrs Pickles said: “She seemed a lot brighter and was looking forward to a holiday. She felt well enough to go back to work and couldn’t understand how she’d got to that point before. However, she still felt anxious and had concerns about her medication.”

East Lancashire Coroner Mr Richard Taylor, who recorded a conclusion that Mrs Gallagher took her own life, said: “Sadly we will never know why.”