Woman from Minehead found dead in her bath, inquest hears

West Somerset coroner Michael Rose.

West Somerset coroner Michael Rose.

First published in News
Last updated

A WOMAN who was found dead in the bath at her Minehead home had previously tried to take her life amid fears she would have to live in a care home or face disability, an inquest heard.

Shirley Turner was found by police who were called by neighbours concerned for her well-being after having not seen her leave her home at The Cedars for a number of days.

The inquest heard how the 63-year-old appeared to live a life of solitude, distancing herself from neighbours and family.

She had a happy childhood but the inquest was told that an unhappy marriage which lasted no more than a couple of years may have caused the retired nurse to distance herself from society.

Ms Turner had tried to take her own life in March 2012.

On that occasion she was taken to Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton where she explained she had been experiencing increasing pain in her neck and feared she would be left disabled.

She told doctors she had grown increasingly anxious of this and could not contemplate life with a disability or in a home at her age.

She said she regretted her actions and was adamant she wouldn’t try to do it again.

On the morning of October 12 last year, neighbour John Baker was walking past her home when he noticed an A4 piece of paper addressed to his partner Kate.

Mr Baker said: “I thought it unusual but I couldn’t read what was underneath it. “I called Kate and in the afternoon she saw it but also couldn’t read what was underneath.”

The couple ignored it as they thought it was part of her ‘unusual’ behaviour.

But a couple of days later when they and another neighbour had noticed no movement or lights being switched on, Mr Baker gained access to her back garden.

He read the note which said: “Kate, please cancel all of my doctor’s appointments, the back door is open.” PCSO Mark Cannell explained how, on October 14, they found Ms Turner’s clothed body in the bath with her nose and mouth beneath the water.

Notes, an annotated will and packed items were found around the house.

West Somerset coroner Michael Rose concluded an unascertained death.

He said: “This is a tragic case. She had been suffering from long-term pain and had been seeing a private orthopaedic surgeon in Gloucestershire.

“She was not a drinker but alcohol was found in her body along with diazepam.”

“I cannot say that she definitely had taken her own life, the conclusion is an open one and the medical cause of death is unascertained.”

  • For confidential help, call the Samaritans on 08457-909090.

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