BBC radio presenter found dead after walking out during show, inquest hears

Vicki Archer took her own life - PA
Vicki Archer took her own life - PA

A BBC radio presenter found dead at her home hours after leaving work mid-way through her radio show intended to take her own life, a coroner has ruled.

Shropshire Coroner's Court was told that Vicki Archer, who left work during a drivetime show, had a history of depression and had made two previous attempts on her life.

The 41-year-old, who had emailed a colleague at BBC Radio Shropshire saying she was feeling upset, was found dead in her house in Woodcote Way, Shrewsbury, on August 6 this year.

Coroner John Ellery was told the divorced mother of three, who left work at about 5pm, was found by her stepfather, Lee Holyoake, around three hours later, after knocks at her door went unanswered.

The inquest was told that Mr Holyoake - who had arranged to visit the property to fix a cooker - used a neighbour's ladder to gain access through a bedroom window.

A statement read to the hearing on behalf of Ms Archer's stepfather said he made efforts to revive her but she was pronounced dead by paramedics at about 8.20pm.

Vicki Archer - Credit: BBC/PA
Vicki Archer Credit: BBC/PA

In his statement, Mr Holyoake said "alarm bells started to ring" after he and Ms Archer's mother were told she had left work early and got no response when knocking at her door.

Recording a finding of suicide, Mr Ellery, who was told that nothing suspicious was found at the scene, said: "We have heard that Victoria had made two previous attempts to take her own life in the past and she suffered from depression.

"It is not necessary, nor is it appropriate, to go further into her personal and private life.

"Victoria left her radio show 'mid-air' whilst it was thought she was going for a break.

"This is a tragic case for her family and our condolences and thoughts are, and must be, with her children."

In a statement issued after the inquest, members of the presenter's family said: "We still cannot believe that Vicki's not here.

"Her zest for life was infectious, she was a wonderful mother and daughter, and her charm brought a smile to all those who knew her. She could light up a room.

"While we will always miss her, we want to remember and celebrate everything that she achieved, which is why, in the spring, we are planning a memorial celebration of her life.

"But in the meantime we want to thank everyone for their support and kindness helping us through our immeasurable loss."

David Jennings, the BBC's head of regional programmes for the West Midlands, said: "We are heartbroken at Vicki's death.

"Everyone here at Radio Shropshire respected her as a great presenter and journalist, but so much more than that we loved the sense of fun she brought to her shows and the station.

"Her loss leaves a huge void. Our thoughts are with her family at this sad time."

Ms Archer had presented the afternoon drivetime show at BBC Radio Shropshire with co-host Adam Green since 2010.

She had also had a successful career in commercial radio and as an event host and voiceover artist.