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Talented jazz singer and actress, 43, took her own life after convincing herself she had an undiagnosed terminal illness, inquest hears
- Hannah Northedge, 43, starred in films alongside Elijah Wood and John Hurt
- She was convinced she was dying from an undiagnosed medical condition
- She had suffered with chronic stress resulting from violence in the family home
- Ms Northedge’s body discovered at foot of cliffs at Beachy Head, East Sussex
Singer and actress Hannah Northedge was found dead in May last year
A talented jazz singer took her own life after convincing herself she was suffering from an undiagnosed terminal illness.
Singer and actress Hannah Northedge had a rapidly escalating mental illness in the months before she disappeared from her south-east London home.
The 43-year-old convinced herself she was dying from an undiagnosed medical condition despite repeated reassurances from doctors and specialists, an inquest heard.
In a note written on a referral letter from a psychiatric unit, she wrote: ‘Imagine how terrifying this is for me.
‘Having the psychiatric team telling me to prove my symptoms are real. I don’t have a psychiatric illness, end of.’
Ms Northedge’s body was discovered at the foot of cliffs at Beachy Head on May 3.
Ms Northedge had suffered from chronic stress resulting from violence in the family home and found it difficult to open up to a therapist, the coroner was told.
A classically trained singer, Ms Northedge had studied at The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.
She went on to perform at two Proms at the Royal Albert Hall and the Barbican, and has appeared before the Queen.
She also appeared in the 2008 film The Oxford Murders, starring Elijah Wood and John Hurt.
A talented singer and actress, Ms Northedge had appeared in a film with Elijah Wood (pictured together)
A classically trained singer, Ms Northedge had studied at The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. She went on to perform at two Proms at the Royal Albert Hall and the Barbican, and has appeared before the Queen
Years of tests for various physical ailments had all proved negative, Eastbourne Coroner’s Court heard.
Following a final home visit, three days before her body was found, GP Dr Victoria Mayhew said Ms Northedge complained of a longer list than ever before.
The GP reported: ‘She said she didn’t think she had depression. She felt stuck. She asked for a whole body scan if blood tests came back normal.
The doctor tried again to convince the singer to consider starting a treatment of anti depressants.
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‘She didn’t wish to discuss her mental health,’ the doctor wrote. ‘She wanted her mother to take her to a hospice for palliative care.’
The inquest heard she left her home in London and travelled to Eastbourne where she stayed one night in the Grand Hotel and booked in for a second night.
A final card transaction was recorded at the Tiger Inn in Beachy Head on May 2, 2018.
A post mortem examination gave the cause of death as multiple injuries, consistent with a fall from height. She had suffered a large amount of catastrophic injuries, and no drugs or alcohol were present.
Ms Northedge had suffered from chronic stress resulting from violence in the family home and found it difficult to open up to a therapist, the coroner was told
Ms Northedge’s body was discovered at the foot of cliffs at Beachy Head on May 3
The inquest heard Ms Northedge left her home in London and travelled to Eastbourne where she stayed in a hotel
Recording a conclusion of suicide, Senior Coroner for East Sussex Alan Craze said: ‘She would not have suffered, if that is any comfort.
‘For the comfort of the people left behind, it is abundantly clear the assistance she received was absolutely first class. It is clear what had gone wrong in her mind.’
DS Todd Steward of Sussex Police said a note in her jacket pocket was a suicide note. which asked her family to find out what was wrong with her.
He said: ‘She said she was struggling with pain which the doctors were unable diagnose.’
Her former partner Graham Parker said after the inquest: ‘She was an intelligent, talented woman. This was a very tragic end to her life.’
- For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, or see samaritans.org for details.
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