Inquest hears how Whitney Berridge took overdose after hoarding medication

Basingstoke Gazette: Whitney Berridge Whitney Berridge

A TROUBLED teenage girl, who said she wanted to be with her dead mother, hoarded her medication for a heart condition before taking a fatal overdose, an inquest heard today.

Whitney Berridge had struggled to come to terms with the death of her mother, Shanie, who she found hanged at their then family home in Popley, on May 6, 2012.

The 15-year-old, who was living with her aunt, Leigh-Ann O'Leary, in South Ham, at the time of her death, had received nasty messages prior to taking the overdose, the inquest at Alton Magistrates' Court heard.

Ms O'Leary said Whitney had received a Facebook message from a boy the night before her death, saying 'go hang yourself like your mum did'.

She said: “She phoned me up crying. I said 'don't worry about it, we will talk about it tomorrow.'”

Ms O'Leary said Whitney had been admitted to hospital in the past after taking an overdose, and had self-harmed by cutting her legs.

She said: “She said she wanted to be with her mum when she first came to live with me, and told me what happened the day her mum died.”

She added: “She found it difficult and burst out crying when she told me she saw her mum hanging there. She went upstairs and put her headphones in her ears and stayed there for four-and-a-half-hours.”

Ms O'Leary said Whitney had made a video before her death, in which she said how lonely she was and wanted to be with her mum, and she said she would take her life on the day she took the overdose.

On April 19, the inquest heard Whitney, an Everest Community Academy pupil, had been at home at a family party and was happy, when Ms O'Leary said the teenager received a text message and went upstairs.

She said: “I followed her up and said 'what's the matter?' She said 'I don't want to talk about it'. I got a plate of food and took it up to her. She decided to come back down but said she didn't feel comfortable sitting down there because someone had just wound her up.”

Whitney went back up to her room, and when Ms O'Leary went to check on her, she found her lying face down on the floor, unconscious.

It was discovered that Whitney had hoarded medication she took for Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, which can cause the heart to beat abnormally fast, and taken an overdose of the tablets.

She was taken to Basingstoke hospital by ambulance, but was pronounced dead later that day.

North East Hampshire coroner Andrew Bradley said: “The sadness of this case is that I adjudicated the death of Shanie, who was Whitney's mother, in circumstances that are equally sad.

“The effect that had on Whitney I don't think anyone can estimate because she was the one who found her. How much that played on Whitney's mind, we shall never know, but it's clear she missed her mum and loved her very much.”

He added: “Any criticism of her or her mum was deeply felt. She had low self-esteem and had self-harmed and had a previous overdose.”

Recording an open verdict, Mr Bradley said: “In order to find a verdict of suicide, she had to have a settled intention to die - that she no longer wanted to be with us and she wanted the lights to go out. The view I take is that at the age of 15 she couldn't form that settled intention.

“I have no doubt that she declared that she didn't want to be here and had expressed a wish to be with her mother, but that's not a settled intention to die.”

He added: “I'm not sure at 15 you have an appreciation of what that means. I have no doubt her death was at her own hands, and that she hoarded the pills.”

  • The Samaritans are available to help anyone in any type of distress on 08457 90 90 90.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree