Secretary hanged herself

From the Cumbria News and Star, 22 February 2008

A Frizington woman hanged herself after suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome. 


Former Sellafield secretary Silvana Columbie was found hanged from tree by a member of the public in Broad Moor, Ennerdale, on November 24 last year.

Her sister, Francesca Hogan, told an inquest: “She was exceptionally warm-hearted and always meant well. I think she convinced herself that she was going to live life alone. She had to deal with her problems alone. She didn’t like to trouble people with her problems. She coped admirably with being a single mother.

“I was aware she was depressed recently. She was worried about losing her job and her mortgage.”

She added that after a bout of a flu-like virus she often complained of aching limbs and lethargy. She was diagnosed with post-viral and chronic fatigue syndrome but rejected taking any anti-depressants to treat it.

Miss Columbie, 49, of St Paul’s Avenue was one of 10 brothers and sisters. She attended St Joseph’s Primary School and St Cuthbert’s School in Cleator before joining the Navy as a cook for nine years. She had a 23-year-old son, David.

Police said they believed the incident was planned since there was a pair of step ladders found close by.

Coroner John Taylor said: “I have heard she had a normal, happy childhood. She was from a large, loving family.

“It is clear that she had some sort of post-viral problems that made her have no energy. She was concerned that it would affect her job.

“She made that decision because of her ill health. She went to Ennerdale with a step ladder and rope and took her life.”

He said her death was due to hanging. He recorded a verdict that she killed herself.

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