Original article no longer available
Sep 13 2007
A WOMAN committed suicide by taking a drugs overdose and putting a plastic bag over her head, an inquest was told.
Silke Maiwald-Clarke was found by Laurie Rose,her partner of four years.
Mr Rose told Michael Burgess, coroner at Woking Coroner’s Court, that he returned home from work to find Mrs Maiwald-Clarke,42, dead in bed.
At the inquest last Thursday Mr Rose said: “Silke was on anti-depressants and had seasonal affective disorder – SAD as they call it.”
Mrs Maiwald-Clarke, a former special needs teacher, had suffered with depression for some time and had spent a number of months at specialist psychiatric clinic Godden Green, in Kent.
The mother-of-one had attempted suicide on five previous occasions and Mr Rose had resorted to taking her medication to work with him so she could not take her own life.
Tragically, on the morning of her death, he forgot to take the medication with him. He told the court: “She had been at Godden Green but discharged herself at the beginning of March.
“She had been in Godden Green for three weeks but she came home for leave and said she didn’t want to go back.
“She just stayed in bed, not getting up. I would take all her medication with me to work so she only had what she needed for that day.
“And we arranged that she would phone me at midday so she would have to get up and I could make sure she was okay.”
Mr Rose told the court that on March 23 this year he got to work and realised he had forgotten the drugs. He said he rang Mrs Maiwald-Clarke, from Tweed Lane,Brockham, and she seemed very happy.He said: “She seemed a completely different person.”
But when he returned home from work he immediately knew something was wrong because he could not get hold of her to come and open the door.
He said: “I let myself into the house and I found her in bed. I pulled the sheet back and she had a bag over her head.
“She hadn’t dressed. She had obviously got up to phone me but whether she had eaten or had just decided that was it, I don’t know.
“I attempted CPR [cardiopulmonary resuscitation] then ran downstairs and called the emergency services.”
When an ambulance arrived, Mrs Maiwald-Clarke, originally from Germany, was taken to the Royal Surrey Hospital, in Guildford.
Mr Rose said: “The other times were a cry for help, but on this occasion I think she meant not to wake up.”
In recording a verdict of suicide, Mr Burgess said: “This lady had a long-standing history of depression for which she was taking a number of medications.
“She was on a number of anti-depressants and was taking prescribed medication. There are no natural causes for his lady’s death and the police are satisfied no-one else was involved.
“Therefore I am satisfied this death was caused by an overdose of prescribed medication and plastic bag asphyxia.”