Woman died just when life took ‘positive’ turn

A MIDDLE-AGED mum who battled depression and alcoholism died just as she hoped she was gaining control of her problems.

Jane Broekhoven, 49, had years of struggle with drink, bulimia, self-harming and suicidal tendencies but felt she was turning a corner and was ‘excited’ about life, an inquest heard.

She had contact with her young daughter and enjoyed writing as part of her recovery.

However she was found dead in her basement flat in Queens Road because she was sick and inhaled the content, causing her heart to suddenly fail.

The inquest heard that she had been almost twice over the legal drink-drive limit after drinking vodka, and there were traces of prescribed medication including tranquilisers and anti-depressants in her blood.

Dr Ian Hawley, who carried out the post mortem, said these were within therapeutic range and suggested inhalation of stomach contents made her heart react.

Miss Broekhoven was found by her friend Lisa Liddell, of Clyde Road in St Leonards, who had spoken to her the day before, on August 15.

She said: “She rang me at 7pm. You could tell from the way she was speaking she had been drinking, but she told me anyway. She said she was very upset and she had cut herself.

“She was saying - I really want to live, I really want to live.”

Her friend tried to calm her on the phone and went next morning at 10am to visit, when she found Miss Broekhoven lying on the bed and a vodka bottle in the kitchen.

Miss Broekhoven lived alone but had a partner Fran who told the coroner the drinking was likely triggered by stress.

He thought she was upset because she wanted to write her autobiography - part of her therapy at Alcoholics Anonymous - and was so frustrated with her computer she smashed it with a brick.

She had by then been off alcohol for three months.

Coroner Alan Craze asked community mental health nurse Gail Salisbury if the deceased had been suicidal and about her general outlook.

She said she was ‘doing really well’, looking forward to seeing her two children, visiting family, doing artwork, and that she was ‘excited’ and ‘exploring ideas’.

She added: “She had so many forward plans. There was too much positive stuff going on for her to want to take her own life.” The coroner returned a verdict of accidental death and said the last few months of life had seen ‘the best of her’.