28-year-old caught up in trial took life — (Wells Journal)

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Wells Journal

Posted: July 11, 2013

A 28-YEAR-OLD woman from Wells who was anxious about an upcoming court case took her own life, a coroner ruled on Wednesday.

Michelle Gunning, who lived in Griffin Close, was last seen by her boyfriend Matthew Holmes on March 29.

In a written statement, he said she had been behaving strangely and made a number of comments that worried him enough to take her medication away from her, in case she tried to overdose.

Her mother, Dawn James, said Michelle had suffered with mood swings and depression for the last few years, and had been involved in an abusive relationship that had left her insecure and unhappy.

She had a history of self-harm and had tried to hang herself once before.

She said her daughter had been violently assaulted by a former partner in December, and the case was waiting to go to court.

She said the pending court date was causing anxiety and concern for Michelle.

Several of Michelle’s friends had told the police they were aware that Michelle was unhappy, and had seemed depressed and anxious about the upcoming court trial.

After she failed to respond to phone calls and text messages, her worried family contacted the police.

PC Bishop entered her home, and found her body hanged.

The coroner said the position of her body meant that she could have put her feet to the floor at any time to save her own life.

Michelle’s GP, Doctor Pearce, said he was aware of her anxiety about the trial and had tried to offer her support, including trying to put Michelle in touch with domestic violence charities. He said she had a history of anxiety, low moods and a ‘chaotic lifestyle’.

East Somerset Coroner Tony Williams extended his sympathies to Ms Gunning’s family and gave a narrative verdict, indicating that she had taken her own life while the balance of her mind was disturbed.

If there is something troubling you or you have been affected by suicide you can call the Samaritans 24 hours a day on 08457 90 90 90.