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PUBLISHED: 10:49 GMT, 21 May 2013 | UPDATED: 15:41 GMT, 21 May 2013
By Simon Tomlinson
‘Left in tears’: Kayleigh Crawford killed herself just five days after being sexually assaulted on a night out with friends, an inquest heard
A coroner has criticised health experts for the way they treated a sex-assault victim just days before she killed herself.
Kayleigh Crawford, 25, was assessed at a counselling centre hours after being groped on a night out.
But an inquest heard a support worker failed to check on how she was feeling emotionally, instead focusing just on her physical symptoms.
The British Gas worker was found hanged at her home in Llanrumney, Cardiff, five days later.
The coroner said she was ‘really, really concerned’ about her treatment and will be writing to the chief medical officer for Wales and the Chief Coroner for England and Wales to demand changes.
Kayleigh was taken out for the night by friends to cheer her up after splitting from her boyfriend.
But she was left in tears after being fondled by a man as she left a nightclub.
The inquest heard Kayleigh went to police after her night out and was taken to an NHS Sexual Assault Referral Centre called Safe Island.
The pioneering centre at Cardiff Royal Infirmary offers advice and emotional support and counselling for sex assault victims.
Advocacy support worker Carol Smith told the inquest how she went through a checklist of questions with Kayleigh after she arrived upset in the early hours of the morning.
But Ms Smith admitted she could not recall asking Kayleigh if she was feeling low or if she had suicidal thoughts following the assault.
Cardiff Coroner Miss Mary Hassell said: ‘In that risk assessment she was asked: “How are you feeling?”
‘She responded by saying: “I’m feeling sick, I’m not eating” – all physical symptoms.
‘That should not have been accepted as the sum total of how she was feeling emotionally.
‘It may have been that she misunderstood or evaded it because she felt uncomfortable. But that doesn’t mean a follow-up question can’t be asked.
‘I don’t know if it would have made any difference, but I’m really, really concerned about the way that conversation went. I think that something needs to change there.’
Criticised: A health team at the sexual assault referral centre at Cardiff Royal Infirmary (above) failed to properly assess Miss Crawford’s emotional state before she took her life, an inquest was told
Miss Hassell said she would be sending a report to the Sexual Assault Referral Centre, the chief medical officer for Wales and the Chief Coroner for England and Wales.
Kayleigh was described as a ‘bubbly and happy’ young woman who had been left ‘particularly low’ at the break-up of her long-term relationship.
The inquest heard she had taken an overdose after the break-up in February, was on anti-depressants and was receiving counselling.
Her mother Lynn Crawford said after the hearing: ‘She was a beautiful, wonderful and caring girl. We all loved her to bits.
‘She’s our little diamond in the sky now. On her birthday every year, she would insist on having a barbeque, come rain or shine.
‘So we’ll be doing that now to celebrate her birthday and remember the better times.’
Miss Crawford’s sister Nadine Carter said: ‘The memories we have of her are so lovely. She was an amazing person.’
South Wales Police said a 29-year-old man was questioned over the sexual assault, but the investigation ended when Kayleigh died.