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Pensioner fell to her death in High Street

A GREAT-grandmother jumped to her death from a third-floor window in the High Street in broad daylight.

Jacqueline Hartrix, 76, was spotted falling to the ground by a shocked Christine Chandler who was walking in the Old Town with her husband, friend and daughter.

An inquest into Mrs Hartrix’s death, which happened on June 7, was held on Wednesday.

It heard the French pensioner, who was very sociable, outgoing, and well-known in the Old Town, had become very depressed over her limited mobility.

Mrs Chandler said Mrs Hartrix ‘launched herself forward in the air sideways’ before falling from the window at her home in Thor House, High Street.

“It was not a stumble and looked intentional,” she added.

Elizabeth Fyfe, who lived with Mrs Hartrix and had known her since 1970, said: “She had a good active social life and social circle both here and in France. She developed mobility problems four years ago, underwent an operation but this didn’t help. Her pain in her legs got worse and worse and she found this extremely hard to cope with. She had said she had had enough and didn’t want to go on.

“In late 2011 she began to become forgetful and failed to recognise people, which we found upsetting. She was diagnosed with dementia.”

Dr Andrew Dunfield, Mrs Hartrix’s GP, said she had a long history of depression, dating back to 1991 and had talked about ending her life in March this year.

In a statement, he said: “She talked about wanting to jump out of a window but said she wouldn’t because she didn’t want to upset her friends and grandchildren.”

Dr Dunfield added Mrs Hartrix, who was divorced, underwent a triple heart bypass in 1998.

Donald Eaton, Ms Fyfe’s father, also lived with the pensioner. He knew her for 40 years.

He said: “I was sitting watching television with her in the afternoon. She said she was going to make herself a coffee. That was the last I saw of her as the next thing I heard was a tap on the lounge window from outside.

“I saw her lying outside the front of the house.”

Joanna Body, community mental health nurse, said: “Mrs Hartrix had a massive personality, was flamboyant and spoke her mind freely. She just had that French style and was known as the French lady who dressed well. She didn’t complain nor express pity for her situation. She had extreme pain in her legs and you could see it on her face.

“She had lost a lot of her independence and her world was shrinking.”

Dr Carol Skerry, consultant psychiatrist, said: “Mrs Hartrix’s lifestyle became extremely restricted. She couldn’t live the life she wanted to.”

Coroner Alan Craze recorded a verdict of suicide while the balance of the mind was disturbed.

 

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