Coroner: Pauline took her own life

Pauline CampbellPrison campaigner intended to take own life
by Eric Allison
published: 30th May 2008

A coroner has ruled that prison campaigner Pauline Campbell intended to take her own life when she took a fatal dose of anti-depressants earlier this year.

Campbell, who protested outside prisons where women had died, began her direct action campaign after her only child, Sarah, met her death at Styal prison, Cheshire, aged 18. Campbell’s body was found lying across her daughter’s grave. Returning a verdict of suicide yesterday, the Cheshire coroner, Nicholas Rheinberg, ruled that although Campbell had a history of suffering from depression, “it would do her an unjustice” to say she had taken her life “while the balance of her mind was disturbed”.

Describing Campbell as “a significant campaigner in the cause of prison reform”, the coroner said her death was caused by an overdose of dothiepen, taken with the deliberate intention of ending her life.

A toxicology report revealed that Campbell had taken an above fatal dose of the anti-depressant. She had driven to the cemetery near her home at Malpas, Cheshire, at around 11.30 on 14 May and her body was found early the next morning.

The hearing, at Chester magistrates court, had heard from a close friend of Campbell’s, Sue Courtley, that the 60-year-old former lecturer had never got over the death of her daughter, in January 2003. Courtley said Campbell had dedicated her life to prison reform and although her protests fulfilled her, the continuing deaths of women in custody had caused her friend great stress. She recalled Campbell saying many times that she could not “bear the pain for ever” and close friends were told by Campbell that ending her own life was “always an option”.

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4WardEver UK is a community collective providing news and information sharing services for our readers and members. We support the call for police, penal and mental health reforms in the UK and internationally. “Keep Informed – Keep up the Struggle” Our activities and on-line services are managed by a small dedicated team of volunteers: Established in 2005.

Posted on 18/12/2008, in All News, Remembrance. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. It saddens us to believe that Pauline took her own life, but leaves a strange comfort in the knowledge that it was her choice, and that was not robbed of her as it was for her daughter who died simply because of neglect at the hands of those who had a duty of care towards her.

    Pauline will be missed in the flesh, but her fighting spirit and shear determination has left us with a lesson and legacy in our own duty of care towards our fellow brothers and sisters.

    “to remain silent and indifferent is the greatest sin of all”

    Rest in peace our sister!

    Tippa Naphtali & Larry Fedja

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