A missing 68-year-old grandmother took her own life just hours after a search party found her lying in a ditch.
At around 8.30am on May 15, Maureen Orrin left her home in Belvedere Close, Danbury, for a doctors appointment at around 8.30am.
But when she never made it to the appointment, her family feared for her safety and reported her missing to Essex Police.
The following day, the community pulled together to organise a search to help find Maureen.
Hundreds of people scoured fields, roadsides and hedgerows in a desperate attempt to find Maureen or at least discover clues as to where she may have gone.
Maureen’s grandaughter, Lizzie Jane Long, described her disappearance as being out of character, adding: “She would never go anywhere and not tell us where she was going.”
Shortly after 2pm that day, Essex Police confirmed Maureen had been found safe and well and the search was called off.
But the following day, Maureen tragically passed away.
At an inquest hearing yesterday morning (September 15), senior coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray heard how Maureen was “very troubled” at the time of her death.
Maureen herself was reportedly very upset about the death of her friend and was concerned about her health.
What is an inquest?
Inquests do not investigate every single death that happens, but will hear unexplained or suspicious deaths of individuals. They will hear from witnesses from organisations, health services, as well as officers and police who investigated the incidents.
The law says that the coroner must open an inquest into a death if there is a reasonable cause to suspect that the death was due to anything other than natural causes.
An inquest is a limited fact-finding inquiry to establish:
- Who died;
- When they died;
- Where they died;
- How they died; and
- Information needed by the Registrar of Deaths so the death can be registered.
There is a formal court setting and all must stand when the coroner enters and leaves the court.
It is very much in the public interest to have an effective inquest system, as it safeguards the legal rights of the deceased’s family and other interested persons. It highlights lessons to be learned and advances in medical knowledge.
Many families also find it helps to have the chance to ask questions to witnesses, and at the end of the process, know that they have the full and accurate facts about their loved one’s death.
Marianne Robson, coroner’s assistant, said: “This 68-year-old lady had been reported as a missing person for around 36 hours before being found lying in a ditch in Danbury on May 16.
“She sadly passed away on May 17. Police confirmed her death was not being treated as non-suspicious and there was not third party involvement.”
A post-mortem examination was carried out by Dr Dia Kamel at Broomfield Hospital on May 28.
Dr Kamel recorded a cause of death as 1a, upper gastrointestinal bleeding and 1b, liver cell injury due to excessive paracetamol intake.
“She was very troubled about various matters”
When considering all the evidence, Mrs Beasley-Murray said: “She was very upset about the death of a friend and very worried about her health, and a short note was found.
“This lady intended to take her own life, I am having regard to the note, I am having regard to the cause of death and that she made it clear to her family that she was very troubled about various matters.”
Ms Beasley-Murray recorded that Maureen tragically killed herself, expressing condolences to her family before concluding the inquest.