Actress Lynsey Pow found hanged after battles with cocaine and gambling debts — (London Evening Standard)

SSRI Ed note: Actress on antidepressants uses illegal drugs, runs up gambling debts, hangs herself, leaves a note. Coroner decides not necessarily suicide.

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London Evening Standard

An actress who appeared in BBC dramas Waterloo Road and Doctors took her own life after battling drug and gambling problems, an inquest heard.

Lynsey Pow, 34, who also appeared alongside Billie Piper in Secret Diary Of A Call Girl, was found dead at her flat in Honor Oak Park on November 28 last year.

An inquest at Southwark coroner’s court heard yesterday how her husband Ashley House, a Eurosport TV presenter, rushed back home from work after growing concerned about her welfare.

The inquest heard Ms Pow told her husband by phone that she was sorry for her online gambling and that she had bought some cocaine.

She was found hanging, with drugs paraphernalia and open bank statements showing gambling debts nearby. A post-mortem examination found traces of cocaine and alcohol in her body.

Her father, James Pow, had tried to take her to his home in Scotland a month before she died so she could get help with her drug habit.

Revealing a bitter family rift, a statement from Mr Pow read to the court said: “I sought to separate my daughter from her husband after he failed to fulfil his marriage vows to act as a custodian and guardian.”

Dr Johan Hugo, a GP who met Ms Pow on October 13, said she told him that she “felt like a failure” and was using cocaine on a daily basis and had tried to self-harm.

Ms Pow was prescribed anti-depressants and referred for psychiatric treatment. When she met Dr Hugo on October 30 she told him she was off drugs and seemed like a “different person”, eager to get back to her life in London and work commitments.

Her brother, actor Duncan Pow, told the inquest that his sister had twice previously tried to take her life. On October 16, he and his younger sister, Kathryn, found her in a “catatonic” state. The inquest also heard how Ms Pow left a note before her death.

Assistant Coroner Sarah Ormond-Walshe recorded a narrative verdict, saying the presence of drugs in Ms Pow’s system meant it could not be proven she intended to kill herself.

She said: “[Ms Pow] appeared to have obtained some cocaine and while under the influence of cocaine she appeared to hang herself.

“It is likely to have influenced her mind so it cannot be said that she intended to die. I am recording this as a drug-related self-harm death.”

Ms Pow’s father said he was pleased the coroner did not record a suicide verdict as he blamed his daughter’s death on her relapse into drugs.

Mr Pow, owner of the Country Attire clothing company, told the Standard: “She was getting better. The tragedy is that she could have been saved. We did everything we could when we found out about the drugs. Lynsey touched so many lives. There were 1,400 people at her memorial service. The only thing that has helped is that it has brought our family even closer together.”

Mr House declined to speak at the inquest and declined to comment when approached by the Standard.