Inquest into friend's death

(69 Posts)
spababe Mon 22-Feb-21 18:43:12

Hello, my friend took her own life about 18 months ago. I found it very hard to deal with particularly as I had only seen her the previous day. We were not close friends but our kids were and so we were in and out of each other's houses for the last 15 years. My grief was stronger than I would have anticipated and my son had to have counselling.
The inquest is next week and family can 'attend' on Zoom. Is there anywhere inquests are reported? I need peace of mind over what happened. I need to know Whys. However I don't want to intrude on the family or be put in an awkward position.

OP’s posts: |
typicalvalues Mon 22-Feb-21 18:46:24

I don't think an inquest will find out the why?

rawalpindithelabrador Mon 22-Feb-21 18:47:53

The inquest might not delve into that but just to record the cause of death. It might be beneficial to have counselling to accept that there may never be full answers.

SunInTheSkyYouKnowHowIFeel Mon 22-Feb-21 18:48:28

Pretty sure they get reported in the local press. Sorry about your friend Op, must be so difficult for you, and nice you are thinking of the families privacy, must be awful for them too.
If you did attend on Zoom could you switch your camera off and put a fake name? Or you have to put your real details? I hope you get some answers.

Lweji Mon 22-Feb-21 18:51:38

I need to know Whys.

I'm sorry, but that is entirely your issue, and if it is that important for your peace of mind, then you should seek counselling.

Over 15 years, of constantly being in and out of each other's houses, and you were not close, then why would you have any right about the why? Even if you were close, I'd think it was her private life, if she didn't confide in you regarding her thoughts.

And why would you need peace of mind over it? Do you feel guilty in relation to what happened?
If so, then talk to the family.

Lweji Mon 22-Feb-21 18:52:01

Or, if you think there was abuse, then talk to the police.

LadyInParis Mon 22-Feb-21 18:55:35

typicalvalues is right. They use them to determine a few things. One that it is definitely suicide and no foul play. Second to determine cause of death or manner of death (I forget which is which but one is the overall reason, the other is the actual physical way the body stopped) so for my mum, it was determine as no foul play, cause of death was suicide, manner of death was carbon monoxide poisoning. Alternatively, my best friend it was determined no foul play, cause of death was accidental overdose, manner of death was heart failure. If that makes sense- I may have got the “manner” and “cause” part confused or mixed up but it’s the same thing. If you get me?

Sorry for your loss. It’s horrible beyond measure. I would ask his family- they can say no if they choose, or yes if they don’t want anyone other than family there. It isn’t intrusive to ask. I wouldn’t have found it to be. However I don’t know that it would help you- you’ll find out at some point that the person, your friend, committed suicide, and how. From that you’ll know all you would have learned from an inquiry. To my knowledge at least in terms of useful (for want of a better word) information that can help you move on. The rest is inconsequential really. I would recommend a grief counsellor. I truly wish I had when I lost my mum, or my Nan, or my best friend, or another very close friend, but I never did, and each time I lost someone it severely impacted my mental health and still does to this day as I haven’t resolved it with professional help. I wish you the best

DogsSausages Mon 22-Feb-21 18:57:07

Do not try and use a fake name to get onto Zoom. You would have to be invited to join in. Why do you feel you need to know what happened.

Entschuldigung Mon 22-Feb-21 18:58:36

I'm so sorry to hear about your friend, that must be so difficult to come to terms with.

I don't know for sure about the inquest, which I appreciate is unhelpful, but I tried to find an inquest report when someone I knew died in a road accident and I was never able to find it.

Would you be able to ask any of the family for details? Hopefully they will understand that you need information.

My FIL took his own life and my husband definitely found the inquest useful. Although you may not find out the Whys, I'm pretty certain that there was discussion about his mental state leading up to his death etc. that my husband found useful; especially as he hadn't actually been in touch with his father for the last 10 years of his life.

I hope you do get some information that helps you as well as your son too.

imalmostthere Mon 22-Feb-21 18:58:53

Gosh it's for the family - absolutely don't try join. You've said you weren't close, so I doubt the family would appreciate you popping up. Sorry op.

LadyInParis Mon 22-Feb-21 19:02:47

But the why? Well my mum did it when I was 13, 20 years ago now (Jesus I didn’t realise it was so long!!) and I still don’t truly know or understand why she would do that, why she wrote a note and included in the note that her two kids (me and younger brother) would be better off without her, and that her (extremely physically violent and emotionally abusive) husband she “couldn’t live with him, and couldn’t live without him”. Or why she was so happy in the days leading up to it- having quit alcohol for a long time prior. Etc. There are many clear cut answers for those things but it is still not clear why those reasons would make someone seek the nuclear option of opting to no longer live- forever. My point is you’ll never have the “why” even if you ever saw a note with their explanation that would be read during an inquest. You’ll never know and you would do well to seek counselling. I missed that you weren’t particularly close- I maybe misread and if this is the case I would not ask the family under any circumstances. It’s by the by to risk sounding harsh. Your friend is gone and you need to try to deal with it. I am very sorry for you. Grief is an awful thing.

Motherofgirl Mon 22-Feb-21 19:02:57

The basic information will probably be in the local paper / online. I'd stick at that.

LadyInParis Mon 22-Feb-21 19:05:30

If you did attend on Zoom could you switch your camera off and put a fake name? Or you have to put your real details? I hope you get some answers.

Please do not do this. Depending how well you
Know the family you could ask. I wouldn’t personally. I didn’t for my best friend and I knew her for years we were extremely close and I knew her entire family for many years siblings stepdads and all. I would just wait if it were me. I certainly would not use a fake name on zoom- what a disgusting suggestion hmm you should be ashamed suggesting such a thing

LadyInParis Mon 22-Feb-21 19:07:57

Tsk- I didn’t proof read. You could ask the family and they can say no if they choose or yes if they don’t mind. It depends on how well you know the family. Personally I wouldn’t ask- like I said I knew my best friends family very well and it didn’t occur to me to ask.

AngelDelightUK Mon 22-Feb-21 19:14:23

Bits are reporting online and in the press, but chances are you will never know why she did it. I imagine you’d need a log in to access the zoom but if you know her family there would be no harm in asking if you could join. How do you know it’s happening?

LadyInParis Mon 22-Feb-21 19:16:24

I was more concerned that I had lost my friend. The hows and why’s beyond a basic knowledge that she accidentally overdosed and it led to her having heart failure in the ambulance (and even that knowledge was too much for me to digest at the time) was more than enough for me. Fact was I lost a friend. The why is kind of irrelevant. Though much debated in my mind especially my friend as it wasn’t intentional. I had to learn somehow to move on. For my mum I obviously had more information but again it only led to more questions. I think rather than focusing on how, or why, you should seek help for your own emotions. As cold as it may sound- the person is gone and the gaudy details aren’t going to help. At some point you’ll learn the method. Beyond that, you need to focus on you. The family of the deceased needs to focus on them, and you can ask or not but I would question why it is important to you with a counsellor. It didn’t occur to me at all. At any point either at the time and during the years since. Have you looked for a counsellor for yourself? I’m very sorry for you and your kids it is very hard to go through this

LookingForSalt Mon 22-Feb-21 19:36:58

LadyInParis

But the why? Well my mum did it when I was 13, 20 years ago now (Jesus I didn’t realise it was so long!!) and I still don’t truly know or understand why she would do that, why she wrote a note and included in the note that her two kids (me and younger brother) would be better off without her, and that her (extremely physically violent and emotionally abusive) husband she “couldn’t live with him, and couldn’t live without him”. Or why she was so happy in the days leading up to it- having quit alcohol for a long time prior. Etc. There are many clear cut answers for those things but it is still not clear why those reasons would make someone seek the nuclear option of opting to no longer live- forever. My point is you’ll never have the “why” even if you ever saw a note with their explanation that would be read during an inquest. You’ll never know and you would do well to seek counselling. I missed that you weren’t particularly close- I maybe misread and if this is the case I would not ask the family under any circumstances. It’s by the by to risk sounding harsh. Your friend is gone and you need to try to deal with it. I am very sorry for you. Grief is an awful thing.

That's so sad, I'm so sorry you lost your mother that way. It is not at all unusual for people who are seriously mentally ill to genuinely believe that the people around them will be better off without them, the mind is so disturbed that it arrives at conclusions and decisions that seem inexplicable to others. From what you say it is likely that the toll of abuse by her husband and the impact of alcohol abuse (which she likely used to self medicate) on her mood and mind were big contributors.

And people who complete suicide, as your mother did, are often seemingly peaceful and at ease immediately prior to their death because after a long period of anguish they have reached a decision to die and that can be a relief. Again, the very unwell mind.

That's why we hear so many accounts of games saying "Oh they'd never do that", there is a myth is that suicidal people act in a certain way.

The fact that suicide has been chosen is in itself evidence of a very unwell mind.

I wish families were provided with very clear information and advice/support around this.

OP I used to report on coroner's court. The point of the inquest is to determine the cause of death. In cases of suspected suicide, the coroner must determine beyond reasonable doubt that death was the intention. In many cases there is doubt, especially if there is no recorded history of mental illness or no note signalling intent. Often with young people the death is recorded as misadventure. Many driving deaths are suspected suicides but are rarely ruled as such because they appear accidental.

I'm so sorry for what you're going through. I'm sure the family would appreciate knowing that you miss your friend and that you still think about her so much.

I'm sorry too that some posters have been so dismissive in what is a very sensitive topic.

Tommika Mon 22-Feb-21 19:51:29

I’m sorry for your loss and the shock plus your experiences with the grief.
I’d recommend not attending the inquest, you won’t get reasons why, only the facts with regard to how she died.

I lost a close friend to self harm a number of years ago, and it was me who broke into her flat to find her. At the time I was on autopilot with the 999 operator in my ear, the worst moment was when I realised there was nothing to be done and the feeling of being alone when the call was over and until a paramedic arrived. (Only a matter of minutes, but they tried to keep me on the phone talking - and they were right, there was nothing I could do for her but they would have still been a voice on the line for me)
Things only hit me later that night and over the next few days.

The inquest was horrific, he handled everything very well stating that he was not going to read out his full findings and would cover only the key facts - those key facts mostly consisted of reading out my statement verbatim.
The benefit that I had from attending the inquest was to hear directly from him that he considered and ruled out suicide, and found it to be accidental due to self harm gone wrong, plus that she would have passed whilst asleep/unconscious. He backed this up with reference to her medical history that she ‘only’ self harmed and had never shown suicidal tendencies

An inquest answers some questions and gives some closure. It doesn’t answer all questions.

Local newspapers report on inquests, but typically will only publish limited details. You can request a copy (perhaps a recording) from the coroners office. In normal times you can usually visit to see the archives

Trumplosttheelection Mon 22-Feb-21 19:56:59

I thought inquests were public and so no reason why you can't attend. We attended the one for our friend who took his own life, attending to support his family. We found it helpful. It was a very considered enquiry in to his actions. Ended up with an open verdict.

LadyInParis Mon 22-Feb-21 20:04:59

@LookingForSalt

Thank you for your lovely reply- but this is the strange thing when it comes to this situation. I know all of that, logically it all makes perfect sense (how you explained it) and also is the likely “why”. In fact I have been on the edge many many times where the idea of suicide and being out of here makes perfect sense. And does as you said give a tremendous amount of relief and calm. All of it can be explained. And yet.. as much sense as it all makes, it still doesn’t. I still want to know “why”, just why?? So my point (and your wonderful reply) both together, explain extremely well how you can have all the answers and everything can appear to make perfect sense. And yet still leave you with “why”. It’s hard to understand perhaps as the why seems so clear. But she was my mum. She was supposed to be there. She was meant to love us more than herself. Why? Why did she leave us? And so on. So if the op had all the answers needed, like myself. It still won’t give closure. The only closure I have is to accept essentially what you said- that she was very unhappy, and very much mentally ill. And she was just human- not some wonder woman able to withstand all that abuse and more. And that is a bitter pill to swallow. That I wasn’t enough. To hold on for. Thank you for your lovely and really beautifully thought out post (for such an awful topic). It helped me in some way actually- it confirmed all my own answers to such questions all at once and that means a lot- how kind of you. To the op- this alone should show you can know everything (as in the case of my mum) or not much at all (as in the case of my friend) and I have found that both situations were equally lacking in answers and closure. Really I am very sorry for what is happening to you. I apologise if I have been harsh- perhaps my own experience has made me dissociate a little when reading situations similar to what I have experienced - making me more matter of fact than necessary. If it will help you then you should ask the family to be included in the inquest. They can only say no. Just because I didn’t ask doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t have- had it been something I needed for my own sanity. So if you really think it will help you, ask. Just because it didn’t help me for my mum, and didn’t occur to me for my friend, doesn’t mean it isn’t important or helpful to you. I hope you get the resolution and closure that you need

LindaEllen Mon 22-Feb-21 20:06:54

Sorry but why do you 'need to know the whys'? I can understand if you were close friends (and even then it's still not your business) but you even admitted you weren't close.

You're just being nosy.

LadyInParis Mon 22-Feb-21 20:09:55

@LindaEllen what an awful and incredibly dismissive thing to say!! 15 years and the guilt of someone you know doing such a thing is like the fall out from a nuclear bomb. It radiates far and wide. And people need to know. I hope you are just ignorant of these situations and not just trying to be cruel

LunaHeather Mon 22-Feb-21 20:12:42

spababe

Hello, my friend took her own life about 18 months ago. I found it very hard to deal with particularly as I had only seen her the previous day. We were not close friends but our kids were and so we were in and out of each other's houses for the last 15 years. My grief was stronger than I would have anticipated and my son had to have counselling.
The inquest is next week and family can 'attend' on Zoom. Is there anywhere inquests are reported? I need peace of mind over what happened. I need to know Whys. However I don't want to intrude on the family or be put in an awkward position.

OP I am sorry for your loss.

No one can know the "why".

I think you need to get closure another way.

LookingForSalt Mon 22-Feb-21 20:21:43

LadyInParis yes I can understand all of that. As rational adults we understand that people can become very ill (physically and mentally) and die, but at the same time we are always our parents' children and feel wounded when their actions hurt us. The suicide of a parent must be the greatest wound. I wish you every strength and drop of light.

TheCanyon Mon 22-Feb-21 20:22:35

Does England not report fatal accidents and sudden deaths on their court pages?

I have a copy of my ex's and it's listed on the Scottish sheriff courts page, I read it every year or so now, could probably almost recite it, but It's very intrusive reading for his friends and family and it really doesn't answer the why?

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