North Wales mum took own life after stuggling to cope with death of son — (North Wales Daily Post)

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North Wales Daily Post

Feb 15, 2013 08:27

A GRIEVING mum, struggling to cope with the death of her teenage son, killed herself a coroner ruled.   Susan Alison Williams, 43, was found hanged at her home in Bryn Llwyd, Bangor, by her husband Dennis in the early hours of August 9 last year.

Mr Williams told the hearing at Llangefni he had dialled 999 and tried to revive her.    When police and paramedics arrived the resuscitation efforts continued but to no avail.

Their 18-year-old son, Matthew, disappeared from his home in April last year.    A massive search was carried out for the popular Coleg Menai student. His body was found in the sea off Malltraeth at the end of June.

Recording a verdict of suicide North west Wales deputy coroner Nicola Jones said: “What happened to Matthew was awful and unthinkable and we know she was really, really struggling.

“To record a verdict of suicide I must find she carried out her actions voluntarily and knew it would lead to her death.   “It is beyond reasonable doubt she took these steps and intended to die at that point.”

Pathologist Dr Tony Caslin said Mrs Williams died of asphyxia.   He added Mrs Williams had also taken a “toxic level” of anti-depressant tablets.  

Asked by the coroner if the tablets would have affected Mrs Williams’ thought processes the doctor said: “I don’t know, possibly but possibly not.”

Dennis Williams, a taxi driver, said he had gone to work at about 8 pm the previous evening.   In a statement read out at the hearing Mr Williams said he had no concerns about his wife that evening.

He said he had called Mrs Williams during the evening and she had sounded fine.    She had visited Matthew’s grave and a supermarket he added.

He had returned home at about 1.30am and found the house in darkness.   Mr Williams, who was in court with members of his family, said he was aware there was someone in the hallway and switched on the lights.

He said Mrs Williams was on the stairs.   He called 999 and tried to resuscitate her until help arrived.   Mrs Williams, he said, was a kind-hearted woman who was very close to her children.

The coroner added an inquest into the death of Matthew had not yet been arranged.   She said further evidence has been requested from an agency.   Before Matthew’s body was found his parents had spoken of their belief their son went missing because he had become unable to cope with the pressure of sitting his exams.


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The Telegraph

Samaritans ‘lack of cooperation’ over teenager’s death may have contributed to mother’s suicide, says coroner

By News agencies

10:14AM GMT 27 Feb 2014

The “complete lack of cooperation” shown by the Samaritans during an inquiry into a teenager’s death may have contributed to his mother’s suicide, a coroner said.

The father of 18-year-old Matthew Williams, who went missing almost two years ago and was found drowned in the sea, described the actions of the Samaritans as “disgusting”.

Ellis Lane, North Wales Police missing persons coordinator, told the inquest in Llangefni that the final call made from Matthew’s mobile was to the Samaritans.

He said a trace of the Bangor teenager’s mobile established that he had been “in the vicinity” of Menai Bridge.

Coroner Dewi Pritchard Jones said one of the reasons for the long delay in holding the inquest had been the refusal of the Samaritans to cooperate with his inquiry.

He had hoped Matthew’s call to them would shed some light on what happened, but requests by the police and the coroner’s office had proved fruitless.

He said their “uncooperative attitude” may have been a contributing factor in the suicide of Matthew’s mother Suzanne in August 2012 – three months after her son’s body was found.

Speaking at the inquest, Matthew’s father Dennis, 55, also slammed the Samaritans.

He said he and his wife had gone to the Samaritans office in Parc Menai, near Bangor, and “pleaded” for information.

He added: “My son phoned the Samaritans three times that night. They didn’t have the decency to come here and face us.

“Not even the police could get information. How can the Samaritans be above the law? I lost my wife because of them.

“I’m left to bring up my seven-year-old daughter because of them.”

The Samaritans only agreed to cooperate after the threat of a witness summons but said they had been concerned that confidential information could have been disclosed.

The coroner said the information eventually provided by the Samaritans was “of no use” to the inquiry.

The organisation said Matthew’s call had been classed as “Category 1” which is not considered to pose a risk to life.

Mr Pritchard Jones added: “The good thing to come out of the episode with the Samaritans is that they realise that, when coroners ask for assistance, it is to establish the circumstances of the death and not to ask why.

“My hope and indications from the Samaritans is there will be better cooperation in future.”

After going missing on April 23, 2012, Matthew was found in the sea at Malltraeth in Anglesey on May 23. A statement by David Patrick Thomas described how he had been fishing from a boat when he found the body.

Pathologist Dr Mark Lord gave the cause of death as drowning. Matthew’s father said his son had fallen out with his mother the day before he went missing.

When his mother went into his room the next morning, the TV was switched on but Matthew was gone.

Mr Williams said his son had suffered from mental health problems and had spent 12 months in hospital. He said he did not have many friends but was “always studying” and had wanted to become a doctor.

Mr Pritchard Jones said there was no way of knowing how Matthew ended up in the water and recorded an open conclusion.

In a statement issued after the inquest, Catherine Johnstone, chief executive of Samaritans, said they offered “sincere condolences” to the family. She said: “We believe that without our promise to keep everything confidential, people who have the greatest need might never have the courage or trust to speak to us. This confidentiality has been in place since Samaritans was founded sixty years ago.”

She said the charity felt respect for privacy and information passed on in confidence was an essential part of the service and added: “In order to retain the integrity of our service this policy remains in place even if we never hear from our caller again.”

The charity said there were only four instances where it would share information. These are; if a caller asks them to, if they receive a court order, if the call is about terrorism or bomb warnings and if the safety of volunteers or the charity itself is threatened.