Mother, 36, accidentally took her own life 'in cry for attention'

Mother, 36, accidentally took he

Mother, 36, accidentally took her own life 'in cry for attention'

Mother, 36, accidentally took her own life ‘in cry for attention’ from her abusive husband, inquest is told

  • Tracy Starling-Rutter, 36, was found hanged in a park in Truro after a night out 
  • History of suicide attempts and this was described as 'cry for help gone wrong'  
  • Ms Starling-Rutter's mother said: 'It was his fault she died and if he didn't act the way he did she wouldn't have taken her own life 

A mother accidentally took her own life in a bid to get attention from her abusive husband, an inquest was told. 

Tracy Starling-Rutter, 36, was found in a park in Truro, Cornwall, after her sister put in a worried call to the police.

When officers arrived at Furniss Island they found the married mother not breathing, and she was pronounced dead in hospital the following day.

An inquest into her death heard how Ms Starling-Rutter had a history of foiled suicide attempts, and the coroner described this incident as a cry for help gone wrong.

The inquest, held at Truro Magistrates' Court on Thursday, heard how Ms Starling-Rutter suffered both physical and emotional abuse from her husband Daniel 'Danny' Rutter.

Tracy Starling-Rutter, 36, (pictured with husband Daniel Rutter) was found in a park in Truro, Cornwall, after her sister put in a worried call to the police

Tracy Starling-Rutter, 36, (pictured with husband Daniel Rutter) was found in a park in Truro, Cornwall, after her sister put in a worried call to the police

When officers arrived at Furniss Island they found the married mother not breathing, and she was pronounced dead in hospital the following day

When officers arrived at Furniss Island they found the married mother not breathing, and she was pronounced dead in hospital the following day

During the hearing, her GP, Dr Patrick Black, highlighted that Ms Starling-Rutter had sought help for depression and anxiety related conditions and been referred to mental health services.

Ms Starling-Rutter's mother Susan Pearce gave evidence.

She said: 'Tracy suffered mental health issues such as depression but was very good at hiding stuff.

'It had become more prominent since she got with her husband who she had been with for four years.

'I'm aware Tracy made threats to take her life and on more than one occasion she took an overdose.

'On another occasion she went over a bridge and her friends got her out as Danny waved her goodbye.

'She did these things to get his attention and I'm convinced that had he gone to talk to her that night this wouldn't have happened.

An inquest into her death heard how Ms Starling-Rutter (pictured on her wedding day) had a history of foiled suicide attempts, and the coroner described this incident as a cry for help gone wrong

An inquest into her death heard how Ms Starling-Rutter (pictured on her wedding day) had a history of foiled suicide attempts, and the coroner described this incident as a cry for help gone wrong

Ms Starling-Rutter's mother Susan Pearce gave evidence. She said: 'Tracy suffered mental health issues such as depression but was very good at hiding stuff. It had become more prominent since she got with her husband who she had been with for four years'

Ms Starling-Rutter's mother Susan Pearce gave evidence. She said: 'Tracy suffered mental health issues such as depression but was very good at hiding stuff. It had become more prominent since she got with her husband who she had been with for four years'

'Danny wasn't a good influence. He bullied Tracy and she became sad. He was very possessive and always put her down.'

She added: 'As far as I'm concerned she didn't mean to take her own life.

'It was his fault she died and if he didn't act the way he did she wouldn't have taken her own life.'

Also giving evidence was a friend named Sarah, who recalled how she, Ms Starling-Rutter, Danny and Danielle Jeffery had been in for a meal on the night Tracy died.

She said: 'Tracy and Danny were fine at first but when we were playing pool there were some young people at the table and Danny got jealous because there were young lads flirting with Tracy.

'We went to find another pub but they were all closed and when we got to Furniss Island there was an argument between Danny and Tracy.'

Sarah recalled how Danny then ran off with the keys to Ms Starling-Rutter's flat and, under instruction, she pursued him to get them off him.

She continued: 'When I caught up with him he was kicking in the bottom of the door.

'We ended up having a fight before he ran off towards his mum's. I let him go and the police came.

She added: 'As far as I'm concerned she didn't mean to take her own life. It was his fault she died and if he didn't act the way he did she wouldn't have taken her own life'. Pictured are Tracy Starling-Rutter and Danny Rutter

She added: 'As far as I'm concerned she didn't mean to take her own life. It was his fault she died and if he didn't act the way he did she wouldn't have taken her own life'. Pictured are Tracy Starling-Rutter and Danny Rutter

'Then I received texts from Tracy but didn't read them until I got a phone call asking me to come and help her because she was hanging from a tree in Furniss Island.

'I ran straight to the park and got there as police were trying to resuscitate her.'

Sarah went on to describe how the bridge incident and overdoses were because she was depressed and 'a cry for attention'.

Danny didn't attend the hearing but a statement was read to the court on his behalf in which he said he remembered little of the night and didn't recall any arguments.

The statement read: 'I had quite a bit to drink over the evening and can't remember a thing.

'I remember talking to Sarah and the next thing waking up in my mum's front room. We were having a great evening from what I could remember and I can't recall an argument.

'Tracy always said her greatest fear was me leaving her and I'd never have done that.'

Talking through the texts Ms Starling-Rutter sent to Sarah, Detective Constable Andrew Brocklehurst explained how she wrote that she 'couldn't do it anymore'.

Danny didn't attend the hearing but a statement was read to the court on his behalf in which he said he remembered little of the night and didn't recall any arguments

Danny didn't attend the hearing but a statement was read to the court on his behalf in which he said he remembered little of the night and didn't recall any arguments

One text in particular was said to have read 'tell Danny I'm sorry, he treats me like shit then runs away. I can't take this anymore'.

One final message sent to Sarah simply said 'help'.

Concluding the inquest, acting senior coroner for Cornwall Andrew Cox said: 'Tracy was a complex individual with lots of needs and vulnerabilities.

'She had some contact with the mental health services and her family feels there was sufficient help from them but there were barriers that got in the way of effective support and treatment.

'The system is such that when a person doesn't turn up to appointments they get letters sent asking if they wish to remain in treatment.

'The difficult part is when a person doesn't engage because of controlling or coercive behaviour. I suspect that was the case here.

'I don't believe Tracy meant to do this and regard it as a cry for help in an effort to reach out and articulate her distress and difficulties in life.

'I think she was meant to be found and helped but tragically this was not possible. It was a deliberate act but she did not intend the outcome that resulted.'

Mr Cox recorded a conclusion of accidental death.  

For confidential support call the Samaritans in the UK on 08457 90 90 90, visit a local Samaritans branch or click here for details. 

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