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Weston, Worle and Somerset Mercury
13:00 31 March 2012
Report by Tom Wright
A Bride-to-be was found hanged by her fiancé at their home just weeks after she went to hospital admitting contemplating suicide.
Catherine Yannakopoulos, aged 29, killed herself after battling multiple sclerosis (MS) and mental health issues, an inquest was told.
Christian Griffin, her partner, tried to revive her after finding her hanged in their bedroom on November 24, 2010.
In a statement read out at Flax Bourton Coroners Court, he said: “I was traumatised, beside myself and didn’t know what to do.”
Catherine, of Gregory Mead in Yatton, was diagnosed with MS in January 2009 and according to her father, Andonis, it did not stop her leading an active lifestyle as she loved to do.
The following year the couple went to South Africa ahead of their wedding in June. It was on her return the family first noticed a change.
Dr Yannakopoulos said: “She began to appear anxious because the wedding turned out to be a lot more complicated than first envisaged.
“There were other things that caused a lot of stress as they were looking for a house in Devon and a job.
“Unfortunately she had all those things to deal with while worrying about the wedding. Unfortunately all this came together at one time.”
The court was told Catherine started to regularly experience pins and needles sensation in her feet which soon spread to her legs.
She went to hospital in the summer and the wedding was postponed to allow her to recover.
But doctors became increasingly concerned about her mental state and prescribed her small doses of anti-psychotic drugs and anti-depressants.
She became increasingly paranoid and on one occasion visited the police station to ask them why they were after her.
In October she voluntarily went to the Juniper Ward at Weston General Hospital after she admitted buying weedkiller with the intention of killing herself.
Dr Ourania Anagnosti, who treated her during her two-and-a-half-week stay, said the 29-year-old student responded well to treatment and was shocked to hear of her death a month after she was discharged.
Community mental health teams visited Catherine at home on a regular basis and no-one had any concerns she was contemplating suicide again.
The court was told that the former University of Bristol graduate, who trained at Langford Veterinary Services, wrote a CV, started looking for a job and carried out voluntary shifts at St Peter’s Hospice shop in Yatton.
Mr Griffin unsuccessfully tried to call her several times from Howards Honda in Weston, where he worked, on the day she died. He said he was not initially worried until hospice staff told him she had not arrived for work.
He left work early and called for an ambulance when he found her.
Paramedics guided him through resuscitation attempts over the phone but she was pronounced dead on their arrival.
Coroner Maria Voisin said: “Catherine took her own life while the balance of her mind was disturbed.”
Dr Yannakopoulos raised concerns about the drugs Catherine was prescribed before her death and the potential fatal side effects they could have had.
But Professor Malcolm Lader, a psychiatric expert based at King’s College London, said the chances of them making her suicidal feelings worse, were ‘remote’.
He said: “On the balance of probabilities I would think that MS was the basis of the suicidal feelings, rather than the medication.
“That factor is much further down my list than a serious life-threatening condition of this sort.
“I don’t think anything else could have been done. There was a certain inevitably about this suicide I’m afraid to say.”