A WOMAN who struggled to cope after the death of her mother was found hanged at her home, an inquest heard.

Joanne Birt, of Musbury Crescent, Rawtenstall, had bi-polar disorder and had tried to take her own life before, the hearing in Burnley was told.

Richard Taylor, senior coroner for East Lancashire, heard the 39-year-old had posted a picture of someone contemplating suicide on Facebook before she died.

Her sister Amanda Carney said she was diagnosed after their mother died suddenly 10 years before.


Ms Carney said: “It became clear after a few months that her grief was not subsiding. Her behaviour started to change and it became apparent she was using drugs she bought over the internet including Benzodiazepine.

“She had some help from her GP then there was quite a lot more erratic behaviour. She was drinking alcohol and she started taking small overdoses and ended up in hospital.”

She was sectioned in 2006 and since then had regular visits from the mental health team, however, during that time she obtained a degree and started work at a health centre.

The inquest heard she would have periods when she needed intense help when the police and crisis team would be called.

Ms Carney said a few days before her death she had called her.

“She was crying in quite a strange way like she was in pain. She said she could not go on and that she could not take any more. I asked her exactly what it was. She had often talked about not wanting to be here and attributed it to mum’s death.

“What I found difficult was her mood was changeable very quickly. One moment she would say things are desperate and the next day everything had gone back to normal.”

A friend told the inquest she believed the picture posted on Facebook had been a “cry for help” and she did not believe Joanne wanted to end her life.

Her father John Birt told the inquest he would often sit with his daughter who had split from her partner.

“She told me weeks after her mother died she would not be here for long. I thought she was talking silly. There was more to it between her and her mother. It ran really deep.

“Looking back what she did was inevitable.”

Recording a verdict of misadventure, Mr Taylor said he could not be sure she intented to end her life.

He said: “She left the door unlocked, her ex-partner was going to come back to pick up some stuff. She would be expecting him. She may have been expecting somebody on Facebook to have done something.”