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By Ian Drury for the Daily Mail
A female Royal Navy Royal Navy officer killed herself after her boss called her ‘sweetheart’, an inquest heard yesterday.
Lieutenant Sara Hellawell, 26, took an overdose in her locked cabin on board HMS Edinburgh.
The ‘feisty’ marine engineer had become upset with line manager Lieutenant Commander Philip Boakes when they had a cigarette together on the deck of the Type 42 destroyer.
In a statement, Lt Cdr Boakes said: ‘We had a discussion about how some people had not showed themselves in the best light on a sun downs (a break on land) and maybe they should be cancelled.
‘Later Sara appeared to be distressed. I asked her what was the matter and she said it was her mum. I said if she wanted to go home it could be arranged, but she said “No”.
‘I said “Listen, sweetheart” which I meant to be a term of endearment, but she said it was condescending.’
Lt Hellawell stormed off the deck and was found dead at 8am on June 16 after crewmate Helen Wright forced open her locked cabin door.
A post-mortem examination revealed Lt Hellawell, who grew up Ampthill, Bedfordshire, died from drug toxicity caused by amitriptyline, an anti-depressant used to treat irritable bowel syndrome, and codeine, a painkiller.