Tragic suicide of woman pharmacist

A PHARMACIST killed herself with an overdose of barbiturates – apparently from a Hucknall chemist's shop where she worked, an inquest heard this week.

Stephanie Belinda Lee (37), of Craster Drive, on Bulwell's Sellers Wood estate, had suffered from depression for a number of years and told a doctor: "My nerves are in shreds."

Recording a verdict that Miss Lee took her own life, Nottinghamshire Coroner Dr Nigel Chapman said: "She was a very intelligent lady and clearly knew what she was doing when she took those tablets."

Miss Lee, who worked at Mann's pharmacy on Portland Road, Hucknall died on Friday July 30, the inquest was told.

Her father – Christopher Lee, of Bognor Regis – told the inquest she graduated as a pharmacist in 1988.

She then moved to various places, including Rotherham and Sheffield, before settling in Nottingham in the year 2000.

Mr Lee said he helped his daughter to get her home at Sellers Wood and she seemed very happy about it.

He added that when he and his wife moved to Bognor Regis, he suggested Miss Lee moving closer to them.

"We were never happy about her living in the Nottingham area after reading in newspapers about crimes of violence in the city," said Mr Lee.

He told the coroner his daughter's job was stressful by definition and, in July, he noticed she started to become depressed.

"She had suffered periods of depression on and off over the years," said Mr Lee.

He suggested that she get professional counselling and the last time he saw her was on July 26.

The owner of the Hucknall chemist's shop, Gurinder Singh Mann, said Miss Lee began working there on March 1.

On July 28, she left the shop to deliver eye drops back to another pharmacist and did not return.

"I tried to phone her but without success, and I then rang the police," said Mr Mann.

He told the coroner that, after Miss Lee's death, he checked the shop's records and found a set of tablets missing.

Bulwell GP Dr Michael Grant said Miss Lee came to see him on July 26 as a temporary patient, though not registered with his panel.

She told him she felt suicidally depressed but had not sought medical help for her condition during the previous four years.

"She presented herself as an intelligent and well-dressed young woman," said Dr Grant. "But she looked anxious and the way she spoke, running her words together, caused me concern.

"She told me that, the previous week, she had ordered barbiturates from the pharmacy she worked in.

"She said she had not taken an overdose before but had put a plastic bag over her head and slashed her wrists.

"She said she felt isolated, not having a regular relationship or any friends to confide in."

At Dr Grant's request, Miss Lee was visited at her home by a crisis intervention team. She paid a further visit to the surgery that evening but it had just closed. Dr Grant called at her home and gave her a prescription.

Then, four days later, the police rang him and he learned that she had died.

Pc Matthew Elmore said he went to Miss Lee's home because people were worried about her welfare.and he found her lying on her bed. She had left a last will and testament. There were no suspicious circumstances.

In answer to a question by Mr Lee, the coroner said there were originally 100 tablets in a packet found at the house. "But I can't tell you whether Stephanie took them all," he added.