United Kingdom

Lockdown loneliness drove single woman, 45, to drown herself, inquest hears

The loneliness of lockdown drove a single woman to kill herself after she realised how alone she was without a husband or children for company, a coroner heard. 

Natalie Langham, 45, always had a packed social calendar but spiralled into despair when the nationwide coronavirus lockdown meant she was unable to leave her home. 

She drowned herself at her favourite beach and the coroner investigating her death said that isolation caused by Covid-19 lockdown had contributed to her suicide.  

Miss Langham always imagined her life with a partner and children but kept herself busy with charity events, socialising and her career until lockdown was initiated on March 23 this year.   

The coroner heard how she had been badly affected by lockdown isolation, panicking as all of her social events were being cancelled.

Natalie Langham, 45, killed herself during lockdown after she realised how alone she was without a husband or children for company, a coroner heard today

Speaking at the inquest in Winchester, Hampshire, today, her father Bruce said: 'Natalie was very outgoing, she had lots of friends and she always liked to be doing things. She never wanted to be the breadwinner, she always wanted to be with someone else. She would have loved to have had children but sadly that never happened for her. 

'Looking back, there was some anxiety culminating with Covid-19, she took it very seriously. I know she was anxious about her IT not working properly while working from home. She obviously has something in her mind about working from home.

'She loved socialising in the office, she would always organise charity events, walks and bakes and she loved playing hockey - but everything stopped and all her plans were cancelled during lockdown. I think this panicked her.

'Natalie did everything to the letter, she took the restrictions very seriously. She would not even socialise with us in our big garden, she did a shop for us and dropped it at the front door.

'Her friends did not think she was unhappy or depressed, it suddenly came on in lockdown. We told her to come and live with us but she was very independent.'

On the day before her death, Natalie had announced to her sister, Sophie Chatterjee, that she had not been 'living life to the full' and that her life had not amounted to much.

She drowned herself at her favourite beach and the coroner investigating her death said that isolation caused by Covid-19 lockdown had contributed to her suicide

In a statement, Miss Chatterjee said: 'My sister and I were very close. She led an active life, she always looked on the bright side of life. The last time I saw her was on March 29, prior to her coming to the house I asked her if she was okay and she said 'no'. This was just not like her.

'She said she had not been living life to the full for a long time, I think lockdown was having an effect.

'I had a talk with her and she was distracted, she was concerned about working from home and about the technology. She was saying her life had not amounted to much and she had not had children. But I never thought for one moment she would take her own life.'

The following morning, March 30, just one week after the national lockdown restrictions were announced, Natalie headed to Lepe Beach where she immersed herself at sea.

Just after 8am, Lily Ross-Smith had arrived at the beach and spotted something blue before realising it was a person lying on their back, wearing a swimming costume underneath her jeans and top.

Emergency services arrived before 9am and tragically pronounced the woman dead at the scene. 

During the investigation, officers found a suicide note at her home in Southampton which expressed her sorrow, her love for her family and friends and explained that she would not be 'holding anyone up' now.

Pathologist Victoria Elliot confirmed her cause of death was immersion in water and that the 45-year-old was over the drink-drive limit, having consumed spiced rum before her death.

Recording a verdict of suicide, Coroner Jason Pegg said: 'I have heard that Natalie was an outgoing person with lots of friends, she had a full social calendar. She was someone who worked and played team sports but in the other hand, she was someone who had regrets about not having a full time partner and having children.

'From what I have read and heard, it seems to me Natalie on March 29 - just after the country went into lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic - felt a great sense of isolation living on her own where she was no longer able to engage with others at work socially.

'It is clear that on the morning for March 30, Natalie arrived at Lepe Beach at 5.11am, a place she was familiar with. She pulled up and left her vehicle unlocked. She made her way down to the beach, she had consumed rum prior to her entering the water.

'She deliberately entered the water. She was a more than confident swimmer and immersed herself, intending to end her own life. Natalie's isolation caused by Covid-19, contributed to her death,' he added.

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