Loving mother-of-three took her own life after mental health struggle, inquest hears

A loving mother-of-three who “always put others before herself” took her own life after struggling with her mental health, an inquest has heard. Michelle Dorothy Wass died on September 11, 2023, at her home in Grampound near Truro.

An inquest held at Cornwall Coroner's Court in Truro on Thursday (May 2) heard how the 41-year-old had struggled with her mental health since 2020 and used alcohol as “a coping mechanism”. Michelle’s daughter, Kaci Wass, said the alcohol would have an impact on her mother’s moods, describing her as being fine one moment and down the next.

Despite Michelle’s struggles with her mental health, a statement read out on behalf of Kaci described her as a “bubbly and giggly” person who “adored caring for others”. She said she had a close relationship with her mother and described her as being “more a best friend than a mother”.


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The inquest then heard how Michelle had tried to take her life a number of times before and had sustained a number of injuries and health issues as a result. Kaci’s statement said after one attempt, she and her family members “pleaded with the hospital” to section Michelle, however, it was deemed she did not need to be sectioned.

It was heard how a few months after being discharged from hospital, Michelle’s mental health had improved but she would frequently go out drinking. However, after some time, Michelle made another attempt to take her own life through an overdose.

Following this it was discovered that she had kidney and liver damage as a result and may have needed a transplant. Kaci’s statement said this frightened her mother, so she tried to get better.

However, after a few months she started drinking again and began to struggle financially. It was heard that when Michelle decided to move in with her partner, Phil Cooper, she became happier again as they were “always bouncing off each other and laughing together”.

The day before Michelle died, on September 10, she attended a family meal which was arranged to celebrate her becoming a grandmother after the announcement of a family pregnancy. Kaci said it was clear that when Michelle arrived, she had been drinking.

Kaci said when she spoke to her, Michelle began to cry, stating she had had a difficult few weeks. However, when she went back inside, she became “happy and bubbly” once again. Kaci said she had “no idea” her mother would take her life the next day.

The inquest then heard that Michelle had received support from both Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and We are With You, a charity which provides free support to people experiencing issues with drugs, alcohol or mental health. However, after some time she reported to them that she was getting better and stopped engaging with services.

A post mortem toxicology report found that the level of alcohol in Michelle’s blood was 194 milligrams - the legal limit for driving is 80 milligrams. There was also evidence of her having taken cocaine.

While assistant coroner for Cornwall Stephen Covell said the alcohol and cocaine might have had an impact on her decision, he deemed that she had intended to take her own life. A conclusion of suicide was recorded.

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