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by Syma Mohammed
Saturday, February 8, 2014
A “bright and intelligent” teenager in the grip of severe depression killed herself by standing in the path of a train, an inquest heard.
Martha Bradbury, of Benthal Road, Stoke Newington, was struck by a southbound train at Rectory Road railway on October 13 last year – a week after her 16th birthday.
Train driver Van Raizo told Poplar Coroner’s Court that he had seen “a shadowy figure” as he was approaching the station but, despite sounding the horn and braking, Martha didn’t move.
The inquest last week heard that the teenager had been struggling with severe depression and psychotic symptoms for more than a year but had refused to take all of the medication recommended to her as she didn’t want a “fuzzy mind”.
A 15-year-old friend, whose statement was read out in court, said that Martha admitted she heard “bad” voices in her head and “really struggled” with the idea of it continuing for the rest of her life.
Martha told her mother Charlotte Foster in December 2012 that she was depressed and had been self- harming, the inquest heard.
Ms Foster called Martha’s GP who urgently referred her to City and Hackney Child and Adolescent Mental Services and she was subsequently seen by professionals at the John Scott Health Centre, Green Lanes, Finsbury Park, in January last year. During treatment she was prescribed anti-depressants but refused the offer of anti-psychotics because she wanted a “clear mind”.
In February she took an overdose and was admitted to residential The Coburn Centre for Adolescent Mental Health, Plaistow, shortly afterwards. She was deemed to be well enough to be discharged in April.
Ms Foster told the inquest: “Martha was a very brave child. She was a courageous and very determined person. She usually succeeded in what she wanted to do.
“One of my fears throughout last year was that she did not complete what she intended to do when she took the overdose.
“She was against taking anti-psychotics partly because she had seen some children at the Coburn Centre who – in her own words – walked around like zombies. She did not want to have a fuzzy mind.”
Dr Glenda Erickson, consultant psychiatrist and lead clinician at the John Scott Health Centre, said Martha had been the first child in her 30-year career to die under her care.
The coroner ruled that Martha took her own life while suffering from severe depression with psychotic symptoms. In a statement, Martha’s family said after the inquest: “Martha was a bright, funny, musical, artistic, beautiful and much-loved daughter, granddaughter, sister, niece and friend.
“She leaves us all wondering where so much grace came from and why it was around for such a short time. We will always cherish her memory.”
She is survived by father Robert Bradbury and a younger brother and sister.
Martha’s family is fundraising in her memory for YoungMinds, the charity committed to improving the mental health of children. Visit www.justgiving.com.