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Published on Tuesday 11 October 2011 00:00
THE widower of a woman who was suffering postnatal depression who stepped in front of a train believing she was a bad mother said yesterday he felt her death could have been avoided.
Chris Bingley said his wife, Joanne Bingley, who had given birth to the couple’s daughter Emily 10 weeks before she died, was struggling to cope following the birth of the couple’s longed-for first child and had told medics she wanted to end her life.
They had sought medical help, but a doctor had advised that Mrs Bingley would be better off being cared for at home, when they both felt she should have been put in hospital, her husband told an inquest into her death yesterday.
The couple, of Fartown, Huddersfield, had tried for years to have a baby but Mrs Bingley had endured miscarriages, suffering post-natal depression after one. The couple had been turned down for adoption because they were both deemed to be overweight so her husband said it was a “miracle” when she conceived.
When Emily arrived, Mrs Bingley, a nurse with 20 years experience, had difficulty breast feeding and when her daughter’s weight reduced she started to bottle feed her.
The baby put on weight and began to settle but by now Mrs Bingley had started to become depressed. This escalated into postnatal depression.
Mr Bingley, a chartered management accountant, said his wife felt like she could not cope and at one point “… expressed concern that she had expected to feel overwhelming love for Emily but felt guilty that she had not”.
He tried to reassure her that her concerns were not true, pointing out all the good things she did for her daughter, but his reassurances fell on deaf ears.
At one point she was prescribed sleeping pills and Prozac, but no trace of these drugs were found in her system at a post mortem examination, the hearing at Bradford Coroner’s Court was told.
With her family becoming more and more concerned for her a doctor came to see her at home and a care plan was put together.
Giving evidence, Mr Bingley, 42, who at times was visibly upset, claimed the couples pleas to have Mrs Bingley hospitalised where she “felt safe and secure” and could receive urgent treatment were ignored.
When the doctor visited her home she was told it was thought she would be better off at home. The doctor warned her she would get worse before she would get better.
Mr Bingley told the coroner he was given a home-based care plan in which he was the designated carer of his 39-year-old wife, although health professionals were regular visitors to his home.
Asked if he felt out of his depth, he replied: “Not only out of my depth, I was not provided with the information I needed to make an informed decision.”
The hearing was told she left her home on the morning of April 30 last year and was killed instantly when she was hit by a train near Deighton railway station, Huddersfield. A post-mortem examination revealed she died of multiple injuries.
Mr Bingley described how his wife changed from an “outwardly gregarious” person to someone who was withdrawn and depressed.
He told the hearing her mental health deteriorated and on one occasion she discussed methods of suicide and which options would not work.
“She was very calm, matter of fact, and showed no emotion. I was absolutely horrified,” he told the court.
He said in the days before her death she struggled to sleep at night.
He finished his evidence by stating: “It is my belief if I had been provided with the information necessary to make an informed decision my wife could well have been given appropriate care and treatment which would have prevented her death.”
Mr Bingley has since set up a website in his late wife’s name to help other sufferers.
The hearing continues.