Coroner ‘puzzled’ by body found in River Torridge

Bideford town hall. Bideford town hall.

Friday, August 1, 2014
9:44 AM

Narrative conclusion on death of Bideford woman with history of attempted suicides

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A CORONER was unable to give a clear verdict as to how a Bideford woman came to drown in the River Torridge last October.

An inquest at Bideford Town Hall on Thursday heard that Carol Knight, 50, of Cedar Way was found dead in the river by two kayakers near the Little America area on the morning of October 12, 2013.

The inquest heard from psychiatric experts that Miss Knight, who was born in South Molton, had a long history of mental illness, which had led to her attempting to take her own life on a number of occasions between 2010 and April 2013.

On each of those occasions, however, Miss Knight had overdosed on her anti-anxiety and anti-depression medication, the court heard. Miss Knight had then been put onto a weekly script to limit the risk of future overdose.

And on that basis, coroner John Tomalin was not prepared to conclusively attribute Miss Knight’s death to suicide.

Miss Knight’s friend Steven Kernahan had alerted police after trying to reach her on October 11 and receiving no answer from her mobile or landline telephone.

The police went to her house at around 6pm that evening and conducted a search of the house and the surrounding area.

Her body was then found at around 10.10am on October 12.

Giving a ‘narrative conclusion’, coroner Mr Tomalin said: “If we were looking at a death from an overdose I think I would be happy with the conclusion of suicide as it fits into a pattern.

“But there were no notes left and she didn’t say anything to her friend and there was no suggestion that she might end her life by drowning. I’m not compelled to say she deliberately took her life by drowning.

“It’s a bit of a puzzle as to how she ended up in the river and my role is not to speculate.”

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