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The Chester Standard
Published Date: 16 December 2008
A Cheshire woman who dedicated her life to campaigning for prison reform after the death of her daughter in custody, took her own life after years of mental illness, an inquest heard.
Pauline Campbell was found dead on May 15 at the Cheshire graveyard where her daughter, Sarah, was buried.
Mrs Campbell, of Market Place, Malpas, was arrested 15 times for protesting outside jails across the country where women inmates had died of apparent suicide.
Her daughter, Sarah Campbell, 18, died of a drug overdose at Styal Prison, Cheshire, in January 2003, the third of six women to die at the jail in 12 months.
Coroner Nicholas Rheinberg, told the inquest at Chester Magistrates’ Court that Mrs Campbell had taken her own life by overdosing on prescribed antidepressants.
He said: “We have heard that Mrs Campbell had quite a long history of depressive illness, but her troubles became acute following the tragic death of her daughter in 2003.
“There’s no doubt as to the cause of death – a dothiepin overdose – and I have no doubt that the dose was self-administered and I have no doubt whatsoever that this was with the deliberate intent of ending her life.”
The inquest heard Mrs Campbell had suffered from depression since the 1970s and had attempted to take her life several times before her daughter’s death.
The coroner said it was clear that a newspaper article Mrs Campbell came across “particularly distressed” her. He said she was a “very precise lady who would be upset if facts were misquoted, in particular facts in relation to her daughter or her daughter’s death”.
Mrs Campbell held 28 demonstrations for prison reform and was charged five times for her direct action which included blocking prison vans, but she was never convicted.
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