A young blogger searched ‘should I kill myself’ online before committing suicide, an inquest heard.
29-year-oldElizabeth Hayeswho volunteered at a shelter for men, had arthritis in both hips and had entered the search term ‘clinical depression’ on her laptop before hanging herself at her home in Blackley, Manchester on July 12 last year, the inquest was told.
Miss Hayes, who wrote on the blogging site Tumblr about men’s rights and the surge in male suicides across the UK, was found dead by her boyfriend of 12 years Anthony Neary, Manchester Coroner’s Court heard
Police who investigated recovered a medical letter referring to a CT brain scan she had undergone earlier in hospital.
Mr Neary told the inquest she had entered ‘financial difficulty’ and had felt like a burden ‘due to her legs and not getting on with people and the arthritis’.
He added: ‘She worked in a voluntary men’s shelter, a place in town. There used to be a nice lad who collected her, took her down to London to campaign for men’s rights for when men lose their access to children.
‘Apparently she had a blog with a few thousand people following her but I think she had a problem getting on with people and she didn’t have a wide circle of friends. I can’t remember her having a lot of women friends as she did spend an awful lot of time on the computer.
‘When her health problems materialised she collapsed as her hips were so sore. She had been talking about feeling a burden and things like that. She said she had ”done nothing with her life”, she was just feeling so down. I was saying: ”it was not your fault – you didn’t ask for arthritis in both hips”.
She just thought maybe this was how she going feel for the future and because of the arthritis she found it hard to accept it. At the time there was heatwave and it really did take it out of her. I wanted her to go to the hospital with me but she just refused point blank.
‘She just felt a burden due to her legs and not getting on with people and the arthritis. We went to Tesco the week before she died. It was a good day and we walked down to Tesco together and I paid for her groceries.
‘I knew a group meeting was coming up and she always used to love going to them. She had also every intention of going to London so I just find it so strange how it could all change in a week.
‘On the day itself I just went round as I did many days. When I went in I thought she was making a coffee – I wasn’t expecting to go and see what I saw. I’m at a loss to explain it.
‘Whether she was looking on the internet and planning things I just don’t know. She said she had been looking up some things about men’s issues how they get treated badly in prisons abroad. What confused me what that she campaigned for men not to kill themselves, she was always on about so many young men killing themselves.
‘She had got into financial difficulty and was embarrassed about how the debts got to that extent – and that is most probably where the burden came from.
‘But she never mentioned about killing herself or anything like that – although I often wonder did she keep something hidden from me.’
Police Coroner’s Officer Benjamin Dobbs said: ‘When officers attended the scene, they noticed that they could see a Tumblr post had been left on the screen about suicide, sexual assault and personal alternative views.
‘The computer was taken and analysed there were searches on there one was ”should I kill myself”. Further searches were ”unipolar depression”, ”clinical depression”, ”osteoarthritis”, ”back cracks when I breath” and ”autism”.
‘There was a message from the hospital – a letter that read ”your recent MRI brain scan has come back showing no changes.”
‘Her aunt said Elizabeth was not very confident and as she got older she found socialising very awkward, she was very isolated.’
Recording a conclusion of suicide Assistant coroner Anthony Mazzag said: ‘Elizabeth had her own difficulties to contend with from a mental health perspective but was a very private person. An investigation of her computer showed that she had researched about suicide and had used the search term ”should I kill myself”.
‘She was not an attention seeker so I can understand why she wouldn’t have shared any suicidal thoughts.’