Woman, 21, hanged herself after fourth miscarriage
By ANDREW LEVY – More by this author » Last updated at 17:33pm on 30th April 2008
A bar manager became depressed and killed herself after suffering her fourth miscarriage, her mother revealed.
Shelly Boast, 21, hid her inner turmoil from her family and friends and appeared to be coping with her loss.
But shortly after losing the baby she went into the walk-in wardrobe in her bedroom and hanged herself using a belt from the clothes rail.
Her mother found her later that day after coming home from work.
Heartbreak: Shelly Boast hid her inner turmoil from her family and friends
An coroner yesterday recorded a verdict of suicide after hearing Miss Boast was already taking anti-depressants after splitting up with her boyfriend earlier in the pregnancy.
Other details, in written evidence handed in to the hearing by her mother, Christine Devonport, were not read out.
But Mrs Devonport said after the hearing that her daughter had been left devastated by a series of miscarriages, the latest of which happened six weeks before her death.
The mother-of-three said: "Shelly's death has left the family in carnage and ripped the heart out of us all.
"I feel guilty that I didn't spot the signs. I wasn't there for her on the day and just went into work as usual. Why didn't a mother's intuition kick in?"
Miss Boast, from Stevenage, Hertfordshire, was a "shy and quiet" teenager who had become more outgoing as she got older.
She first fell pregnant aged 16 but lost the unborn baby soon after.
Over the next few years she became pregnant again on two occasions by another partner but was unable to carry the foetus to term.
Another child was conceived last year with a new boyfriend but she suffered her fourth miscarriage in January this year.
The inquest in Hatfield heard that Miss Boast had been working as a bar manager in Bedford but returned home to her mother and step-father last year after losing her job.
Her relationship with her boyfriend came to an end around Christmas and she was prescribed anti-depressants.
"She was having difficulties in her life but seemed to be coping with them," Hertfordshire coroner Graham Danbury told the inquest, adding she had been "optimistic" about getting a new job.
Miss Boast, who had a brother, Mark, 23, and half-sister Stacy, 29, wrote about her problems in a letter to her ex-boyfriend a week before her death but "didn't talk about her intentions".
On the morning of February 26, she was still in her bedroom with the television on when her mother went to work in London. She was due to collect her nephew from a childminder that afternoon but failed to turn up and calls to her mobile went unanswered.
When Mrs Devonport arrived home from her job as a voluntary insolvency adviser that evening, she found her daughter's bedroom locked and let herself in using a spare key.
Paramedics were called after she found her daughter's body but they were unable to save her.
Blood tests revealed she had drunk alcohol but the amount was so small she would still have been able to drive a car legally.
Mr Danbury said: "She had put herself in a closed wardrobe in her bedroom and put something around her neck and suspended it from a clothes rail.
"It seems to me, I have to conclude, she quite deliberately wanted to take her own life."
Mrs Devonport, 49, who was accompanied by her husband Edward, 67, and daughter Stacy, said afterwards: "Shelly loved babies. She wanted this baby and she would have been a brilliant mum. "It just seems that nothing went right for her."
She added she had set up a website – www.shineonshelly.org – to provide a forum for people going through the same trauma as her daughter to talk.
"It will perhaps give me some sense that Shelly's death was not a complete and utter waste because, without some good coming out of it, that is what it is," she said.