A MOTHER drowned herself in an Oxford river just days after telling family she ‘didn’t deserve to live.’

Oxford Coroner’s Court held the inquest for Lorraine ‘Claudia’ Easom today, whose body was found in the River Cherwell in March.

The court heard the 55-year-old artist and nanny, of Harpes Road in Oxford, had a history of mental health issues and had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Her GP made an urgent referral the Warneford Hospital on March 4, and she had an appointment there on March 6 - just two days before she was last seen.

Her daughter Sophie Haines, who was present during the appointment, said she felt doctor Theodoros Bargiotas ‘didn’t listen’ to her concerns.

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She told him in court: “I explicitly told you my mother was saying she didn’t deserve to live and felt she should be put to death, but that death was too good for her.

“She said she should be in prison but prison was too good for her. I told you that, and that the depressive episode was taking over her life.”

The court heard Ms Easom struggled with alcohol dependency and was partially intoxicated during the appointment.

Dr Bargiotas said he had listened and encouraged her to seek help from Turning Point for her alcohol use, before seeing him again, and prescribed something to help her sleep.

He said the meeting ended with a good atmosphere and with Ms Easom ‘smiling’.

Mrs Haines said her mother left the appointment feeling she had been ‘cast out’, and recalled how she had been ‘manically getting rid of her belongings’.

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The doctor responded: “What we saw did not fit the criteria of mania.

“That plan was the best we could have come up with that day.”

He rang Turning Point on March 14 to check if she had sought help, with plans to call Ms Easom if she had not.

He added: “If I hadn’t got hold of her I would have contacted her daughter, to make sure we did not allow this patient to fall through the net.”

She had been prescribed an antidepressant in January but expressed concerns that it was not having an effect.

She admitted self-harming in the sense that she was not eating, but denied having suicidal thoughts when directly asked by Dr Bargiotas.

Mrs Haines said her mum had been increasingly paranoid and was stressed about a change in her housing benefit.

  • Samaritans is among organisations offering support to prevent suicide. The free helpline is 116 123 and more resources can be found on its website

The court heard she was last seen on March 8 by neighbour Elaine Fullard.

She said she saw her walking towards Banbury Road, at about 12.10pm.

Her evidence read to the court said: “She was walking with purpose as if she was going somewhere and had to get there quickly.

“She looked very sad and unhappy and alone.”

Ms Easom was reported missing on March 11, when her daughter and a friend went to visit her home.

Mrs Haines called 999 after seeing an empty wine bottle inside, the bed unmade and her bike, which she usually travelled on, locked up.

Her body was found in the River Cherwell at Sunnymead Meadow, on Thursday, March 28, a five-minute walk from her home.

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Mrs Haines said her mum found the water ‘beautiful’ and they used to go boating when she was young.

The court heard there were internet records showing Ms Easom had researched suicide and going missing.

Police found she had carried two heavy objects with her. 

Assistant coroner for Oxfordshire Sonia Hayes did not find fault with how doctors had dealt with Ms Easom’s mental health problems.

She concluded: “It’s more likely than not that Claudia did enter the water with the intention to take her life.

“Claudia knew and understood what she was doing, with her internet history and the weighted objects.”

She concluded that her death was suicide.