Suicide tragedy of successful Warminster businesswoman
11:30am Monday 29th June 2009
A troubled childhood and a long-term battle with depression led to the suicide of a businesswoman from a village near Warminster.
Moira Powley, 54, hanged herself in July 2008 at a hunting lodge a few hundred metres from her home in Norton Bavant after years of threatening suicide.
Her widower Miles, her daughter, a family friend and her parents-in-law, attended the inquest into her death, held at Salisbury Coroner’s Court on Friday.
"From recollection, she didn't start to get depression seriously until the late 1990s/early 2000," Mr Powley said.
"It mainly stemmed from her childhood and the way she felt not wanted.
"She was a very, very successful businesswoman, very driven."
Born in Glasgow in February 1954, the coroner David Ridley gave a brief insight into Mrs Powley’s troubled childhood saying only that she had 'very traumatic things happen'.
She met Mr Powley, a company director, in 1994, and married for the second time.
They moved from London to Norton Bavant in 2004 to escape city life, and very quickly they became popular members of the local community.
Mr Powley said: "We settled very nicely into village life. We saw another side of her.
"It was nice to get out of London; she fitted in really well."
Despite the move, Mrs Powley's depression worsened when the couple started their own IT business, which they sold in January 2008 'as a result of the credit crunch’.
The coroner asked whether she saw Mrs Powley saw the sale as a major failing, to which Mr Powley replied, 'oh absolutely.'
Her depression worsened and despite taking anti-depressants and seeing counsellors, Mrs Powley threatened on numerous occasions to take her own life.
Mr Powley said: "I have lifted her off beams before.
"She tried to kill herself six months before she died. She did indicate regularly that she felt suicidal."
On the night of her death, she and her husband had argued about an ongoing dispute she was having with a member of the village.
While with friends that evening, it was suggested she should try to reconcile with the villager, but Mrs Powley, who had made one previous attempt to clear the air, had been offended by this and "lost the plot", according to her husband.
He said: "We then went home and the arguing continued.
"I went downstairs to her office to try to calm down the situation and that is when I broke down and it was the first time I have ever broken down."
At this, Mrs Powley patted her husband on the back before disappearing out of the house just after 7pm.
After 15 minutes, he grew concerned and after failing to find her, Mr Powley called on friends to help him search.
Neighbour Andrew Lane discovered Mrs Powley's body hanging in the lodge shortly before midnight and desperately tried to burn the cord with a lighter to get her down, although by then she was already cold and it was confirmed she had died.