Inquest hears of teaching assistant's suicide

A TEACHING assistant killed herself after struggling to cope with her work, an inquest heard.

Mum Julie Palmer, 43, was found hanging in the garden shed at her home in Lansdowne Gardens on September 9 last year.

She had been a teaching assistant at nearby Hawkes Farm School for more than two years.

The inquest in Eastbourne on Tuesday heard Mrs Palmer had visited her GP with her mother Jean Hazell just 24 hours before she died, complaining of 'stress at work'.

Dr McGregor, of the Bridgeside Surgery in Western Road, said: 'She told me she found it very difficult to cope with the academic demands.

'She was low and tearful and was very concerned about returning to work.'

He prescribed her diazepam and anti-depressants and said she left the surgery smiling.

Mrs Hazell described her daughter as 'very up and down'.

She told the inquest: 'A lot of small things were building up with her.

I think she was disappointed with the way her life was turning out.

'Her ex-husband had lost her job so she had no maintenance coming in. She was fed up with the weather - I think she had a bit of SAD (seasonal affective disorder) - and was very worried about going back to work.

'She dealt with the special needs children, who she was brilliant with, but academically she struggled.'

Mrs Hazell said on the day before her daughter's death, they had been shopping and discussed the possibility of her changing her job.

The next day she went to Mrs Palmer's house but couldn't get any answer.

She said: 'I opened the gate and searched the house from top to bottom but couldn't find her.

'On a small coffee table there was a Post-It note, saying "I'm sorry, I love you, Julie".

'This frightened me and I rang the police because I thought she had gone wandering off somewhere in a depressed state.'

Mrs Hazell said she and a neighbour were wandering up and down the garden when she decided to open the garden shed.

She said: 'To this day I don't know what made me do it. I opened it up and that's where I found her.'

Paramedics were called but they could not revive the 43-year-old.

Deputy coroner Joanna Pratt recorded a verdict of suicide.