Grief-stricken mother takes her own life after struggling to cope after son’s death


A heartbroken mother took her own life after she felt it was the ‘only way out’ as she struggled to come to terms with her son’s death four years earlier.

Denise Potter, 65, was found hanged at her home in Cemmaes Meadow, Hemel Hempstead, on December 1 last year.

A friend found her and alerted police after she had been contacted by Ms Potter’s daughter as she was concerned she could not get hold of her mother.

Hatfield Coroner’s Court heard that Ms Potter had also suffered further heartache when she had to have her dog put to sleep a few weeks earlier.

Ms Potter had never got over the death of her son – who took his own life in 2009 – and she became increasingly depressed. The court heard that doctors had noted Ms Potter’s low mood, but that she was unwilling to go on anti-depressants. She had regular consultations – her final one being in October last year.

A post-mortem examination revealed no traces of alcohol or medication in her system, except normal levels of ibuprofen.

Coroner Graham Danbury said: “She never got over her son’s death, and she had her beloved dog put to sleep a few weeks earlier.”

Referring to a letter written to the coroner by Ms Potter’s daughter, Mr Danbury said: “She had a lot of difficulties and tragedies in her life, and she’d lost the will to live. She saw it as her way out.”

He recorded a verdict of death by asphyxiation.