A woman who became famous following an iconic leather-clad biker shoot in Country Life died after hanging herself in a secure hospital, an inquest heard.
Chloe Courtauld, 47, whose family made its fortune from textiles in the 19th century and founded London‘s world-renowned Courtauld Institute of Art, had suffered with depression for decades, a coroner was told.
Her mother Anthea Wodehouse told the hearing she thought Miss Courtauld was safe after being checked into Warneford Hospital following her sixth unsuccessful attempt to take her own life.
Chloe Courtauld, 47, of Chipping Norton, died on August 11, 2019, seven days after she was found hanging in a hospital room
But despite regular checks, Chloe, of Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, was found by medical staff after trying to hang herself.
Desperate efforts were made to try to resuscitate her, but she died a week later in hospital.
A week-long jury inquest at Oxford Coroners Court began today (Mon) and heard from Chloe’s mother who outlined her daughter’s troubled past.
Chloe had achieved fame in 1998 after shattering convention staring on the iconic ‘Girl in Pearls’ page of the Country Life magazine dressed in leathers, astride a flame-red motorbike, showing just a glimpse of diamond necklace.
Despite the acclaim, she had struggled with her mental health for many years and was severely affected by the suicide of her brother in 2012, the coroner was told.
Mrs Wodehouse said in her statement she visited the hospital just hours before her daughter hung herself. She said she believed Chloe had lost ‘all confidence in treatment’ and was so exhausted that she felt little to hold onto for the future.
But she said she thought her daughter was in a safe place where nothing bad would happen to her.
Referring to the last visit, she said: ‘Chloe was waiting for me at the window and we went for a gentle walk together. We hardly got outside when she wanted to return.
‘The next hour we sat quietly as she lovingly and tenderly was stroking my face, telling me how much she loved me. I could not stop crying.
‘I said ‘that is all right, you go and lay down and I’ll see you tomorrow.’ She turned and gave me a look that I will never forget. It was so deep and full of love and that would be the last time I would see her alive.’
After completing the drive back to London, she received a phone call about the suicide attempt.
She added: ‘I was stunned.
‘I did not blame the staff. They tried to do their best for her and were presented with the most difficult case.
‘She was just in a chronic state that made her life impossible to manage. If someone wants to end their life they will find a way, wherever they are.’
Miss Courtauld had arrived at the hospital on July 19, 2019, after her sixth suicide attempt.
Miss Courtauld was found hanging in a room at Warneford Hospital in Oxford on August 4 and died seven days later
She had endured two years of severe mental health illness with doctors struggling to diagnose and treat her condition.
Her mother added: ‘She told me she did not want to die but could not manage feeling so frightening unwell.’
Her anxiety impacted her ability to sleep, stay still and think. During a previous visit to a private hospital the only way she could manage her condition was to have the shopping channel on the tv 24 hours a day.
She also couldn’t handle noise and was on and off various medication.
Pathologist Ian Roberts told the inquest Miss Courtauld was found hanging on August 4 but her death was confirmed on August 11. The eventual cause of death was bronchopneumonia as a result of a hypoxic brain injury, caused by a hanging.
He said she could not say for sure how long it had been since she was found but said it was likely to be between five to ten minutes.
Because of the location of her death, police sealed off the room.
The officer in charge of the investigation said there was no evidence of third party involvement or anything suspicious.
Police also confirmed Chloe had been seen at 2.40pm by a trainee nurse and was laying on her bed but had responded with a ‘wave’.
She was later found hanging on the door by a healthcare assistant at 3.30pm who raised the alarm.
‘There was no interaction with anyone between those times,’ police confirmed.
The inquest resumes tomorrow (Tuesday).
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Source: Daily Mail