‘Depressed’ pharmacist who attacked woman says she is sorry — (The Scotsman)

SSRI Ed note: Pharmacist on antidepressants upset over marriage breakdown attacks woman with partial sight, kicking her in the head.

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The Scotsman


Published 00:16 Tuesday 22 May 2007

A PHARMACIST who kicked a disabled woman in the head in a row over a man told a hearing yesterday she was “extremely sorry” about the incident.

Sheila Coventry, 42, launched the brutal assault on partially sighted Laura Douglas in the early hours on the seafront outside Edinburgh.

She was later sentenced to 120 hours’ community service, but the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) was told she persists in denying her guilt and blames the victim for the incident.

Coventry appeared before the RPS in London yesterday after her case was adjourned earlier this year for a psychiatric report. The mother of three could be struck off if the panel finds her guilty of misconduct.

The hearing was told yesterday that Coventry, who qualified in Aberdeen, was on medication for depression at the time of the attack. The victim of the attack ended up in a hospital A&E department with bruising to her head and hand and swelling “above the eye”.

Coventry had claimed the injured woman had been drinking wine and said the injuries were caused by her “falling drunkenly” after walking “arm in arm” with her [Coventry’s] partner.

Yesterday, the hearing was told that Coventry had suffered from “depression, anxiety, panic attacks and angry outbursts” since 1996. Reports show that she has received medical treatment for the “angry outbursts”.

Giving evidence to the hearing, Coventry, who runs pharmacies in Portobello and Cart Street, Edinburgh, said that after having two children, her marriage broke up in 1996. She said this confirmed her “suspicions” that her husband had been having an affair.

“My marriage was going through a bad spell – my husband was unfaithful – it was upsetting to me, I was hoping to be married for the rest of my life. My suspicions were there,” she said. “I became quite unhappy, depressed, and visited my GP less than a year after the split.”

She said she later had a relationship with another man by whom she became pregnant. However, she said, he worked in a restaurant, wanted to “relax” after work and sometimes went drinking between 2am and 5am. There were times, she told the hearing, when he did not return home at all, and she was concerned his behaviour might mimic that of her husband and he might be having a relationship with another woman.

“I wanted a stable relationship,” she said, adding that her problems continued when, by then six months pregnant, she found dispensing errors being made by a colleague at work.

She said her problems had been aggravated by financial difficulties resulting from her ex-husband’s failure to pay school fees and maintenance for a year, and by post-natal depression.

She told the hearing that she was now over her depression and no longer needed medical treatment. She said she took her job seriously and coped with the problems of drug addicts, dealing with customers in a “calm and controlled” manner.

She said that the incident which resulted in the hearing was the result of “a number of stresses”, and she apologised to her victim for the “ill-effects” that she suffered.

“I’m extremely sorry for any ill-effect she has had from this incident,” she said of her victim. “I am sorry I had to try to defend myself and she states she was injured as a result of that. I am extremely sorry about that.”

The hearing continues.