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The Weston Mercury
04 December 2008
A MOTHER-OF-TWO who became depressed after swimming at the Great Barrier Reef committed suicide off Portishead’s coastline, an inquest heard.
Christine Daniell was diagnosed with vertigo and depression while on the trip of a lifetime with her husband in Australia.
John told the inquest his wife became distressed shortly after swimming at the world-famous landmark.
The 63-year-old said: “She said to me: ‘If I die here, do not spend money taking me back to England’. That is how badly she felt.”
The inquest heard she was ‘never the same again’ after arriving back in England.
As well as her husband, Mrs Daniell leaves two daughters, Karren and Wendy.
The retired physiotherapist left her home without telling her husband on January 6 and drove to Portishead, where she later killed herself by drowning.
Despite indications in November last year that she was improving after being prescribed medication, the inquest heard her depression worsened due to exhaustion, lack of sleep and because she felt her condition was not getting any better.
Mrs Daniell, of Abbots Leigh, was found near two miles off the Portishead coast by fisherman Christopher Eager, who saw a body floating past his 26ft boat on January 6 earlier this year.
Mr Eager alerted the Coastguard, which in turn asked the Portishead lifeboat team to investigate.
Her body was taken by the lifeboat crew to Portishead Sailing Club, in Belton Road, where Mrs Daniell was confirmed dead by paramedics.
A toxicology report found she was almost twice the drink-drive limit when she died. It said she had 152mgs per 100ml of blood in her system.
North Somerset deputy coroner Bryan Whitehouse recorded a verdict of suicide at Flax Bourton
Village Hall, where the inquest into her death was held.
He said: “The evidence shows that she had been suffering from depression since going on holiday to Australia in early 2007.
“It was possible that was caused by swimming at the Great Barrier Reef.
“She was last seen by her husband the night before she died and her body was found in the Bristol Channel the next day.
“To record a verdict of suicide I have to be satisfied that Mrs Daniell killed herself and had intended to.
“From the evidence I have heard I am satisfied on both these counts.
“The notes she left make her intentions quite clear and unambiguous.”
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