Life pressures led to pensioner’s death

PUBLISHED: 12:00 03 March 2011

Flax Bourton Coroners Court

Flax Bourton Coroners Court

Copyright Archant Ltd

FINANCIAL pressures and the demands of caring for her unwell husband resulted in a depressed Clevedon pensioner suffocating herself with exhaust fumes.

Joan Davison was found lifeless over the front seat of her car by a farmer whose field she had parked in to take her own life on November 18.

At an inquest into the 63-year-old’s death, held at Flax Bourton Coroners Court yesterday (Wed), it was said that she had argued with her husband, Colin, the evening before her death and he had woken to find her gone.

Joan, a supermarket employee who was born in Manchester, had suffered with feelings of anxiety and depression since 2001, when her mother became ill and she began caring for her father, who suffered from Alzheimer’s.

In September last year, Colin was diagnosed with a brain tumour and, around this time, Joan also took over the managing of their finances, when she discovered they would have to sell their Old Park Road home to pay for their debts.

Since 2001, Joan had been treated by a psychiatric team and her GP and had been given medication to deal with her anxiety and suicidal thoughts.

At the inquest, a statement from her best friend of 25 years, Cathy Trenaman said: “Joan was kind, caring, well-balanced and stable.

“After the extreme sadness following the death of her mother there was a period when she was unstable. However, she did recover.

“Her father had a long illness with Azheimer’s and she never really got over his passing.

“Joan was strong but was under huge pressure.

“I was greatly shocked by the way she died but I was not surprised.”

Joan’s body was found by farmer, Robert Cole, whose friend had telephoned him at about 9am on November 18 to say they had spotted her blue Fiat Panda parked in his field off Lampley Road in Kingston Seymour.

When he went to investigate he found a pipe leading from the car exhaust into the car. He switched off the engine but Joan was already dead.

At the inquest, assistant deputy coroner Phillip Howells concluded that Joan took her own life and that the cause was asphyxiation caused by exhaust fumes.


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