Tiverton mourns hairdresser's heartbreaking sudden death

Jessica Bamber worked as a hairdresser for Ivan and Lana Hair and Beauty in Tiverton
-Credit: (Image: Submitted)

A well-known bubbly, kind and caring hairdresser unexpectedly died at home, an inquest has heard. Jessica Lee Bamber, who had worked for Ivan and Lana Hair and Beauty in Tiverton for more than a decade, passed away on April 29, 2023.

The 29-year-old was discovered by her mum after visiting her home in Rooks Way where she lived alone with her beloved dog. The inquest at Exeter Coroner’s Court today, July 10, heard Jessica had been born in Cumbria and then relocated to Devon with her family and attended Tiverton High School.

After leaving school she trained as a hairdresser and worked for Ivan and Lana Hair and Beauty for 13 years. In a statement, her heartbroken mum Lee said they enjoyed a very close relationship and her death was ' unexpected and deeply tragic'.

She described 'Jessie' as being a hard worker with a fantastic reputation and said she was 'very unique' and loved by all who knew her. She told how she loved clothes, fashion and cooking and would also cut vulnerable people's hair in their own homes.

Lee said: "She was so kind to other people. Her death has completely shocked the community." She added: "She would help anyone and would give her last penny to anyone."

The inquest heard Jessica had been diagnosed with emotionally unstable personality disorder and battled with mood swings and insomnia. Around three months before her death she had met a new boyfriend but their relationship was said to be 'toxic' with family members describing him in statements as being 'possessive, controlling and very jealous'.

Jessica Bamber pictured with her sister Leanne
Jessica Bamber, right, pictured with her sister Leanne -Credit:Submitted

The day before her death, her boyfriend told police they had been out socialising in Tiverton but had argued later that night and she had asked him to leave her home and that he had posted her keys back through the door.

He told how he went back into town to carry on drinking and had been offered to stay the night instead at a friend of Jessica's and was then told of her death the following morning by police. He was said to have been 'broken' by the news.

The cause of her death was hanging while under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Toxicology results stated the level of alcohol was consistent with drunkenness and a high recreational dose of cocaine had been taken recently before her death.

It was added that both could lead to impaired judgement and increased risk-taking behaviour and can cause 'significant' intoxication. Jessica's medical history confirmed she had made some previous attempts to end her life but would always reach out to loved ones when she did.

Jessica's family raised concerns over how she was found but police said there were no suspicious circumstances or evidence of any third-party involvement.

Her mum Lee said: "We have to accept what happened but deep down I feel there was more to it. In my heart, as a mother, I know something was not right that night."

Jessica Bamber is greatly missed by her family and friends
Jessica Bamber is greatly missed by her family and friends -Credit:Submitted

Recording a narrative conclusion, Alison Longhorn, area coroner for Exeter and Greater Devon said: "Jessie took her own life while under the influence of alcohol and cocaine, but her intention in doing so remains unclear. The substances she had taken could have impacted her state of mind quite significantly."

Offering her condolences to Jessica's family, she said: "It is clear Jessie was very bubbly and a full of life character. To lose her in this way must have been an awful shock."

Following Jessica's death around £4,500 has been raised in her memory for mental health charity Mind. A GoFundMe page set up by family and friends after her death raised more than £7,500 for Borderline Support UK CIC and The Sleep Paralysis Charity.

The page stated: "Sadly Jessie took her own life on Saturday, April 29, and it has been a massive shock to everyone who knew her. Behind them big brown eyes, Jess has been fighting most of her life with demons a lot of people would never have known.

"From a young age Jess has always suffered with her mental health, and in her mid-20s she got diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD). She masked it so well with her contagious smile and that dirty laugh we all miss.

Jessica Bamber, far left, at the opening of Ivan and Lana Hair and Beauty's new centre at Beck House in Tiverton back in 2019
Jessica Bamber, far left, at the opening of Ivan and Lana Hair and Beauty's new centre at Beck House in Tiverton back in 2019 -Credit:Lewis Clarke

"She was always the life and soul of a party and would never turn down the chance to get dolled up and make memories with her loved ones. She hid it so well that not even the closest of us knew what was really going on in her beautiful mind.

"Jessica left school at 16 and pursued her love for hair. She was a very talented young girl and was amazing at hair-ups.

"It still baffles me how she could cut, colour and style her own hair so well. She always looked so glam.

"Jessie loved meeting new people and doing this job she got to do the two things she loved most; hairdressing & chatting. We could listen to Jessie’s stories all day about dating, finding Mr Right, nights out and just life in general.

"There was never a dull moment in her life. She would have us belly laughing with her impressions and she was always a sucker for a silly Snapchat filter. She touched the hearts of so many and will be massively missed."