Sunday 19 November 2017

PR executive Kate took her own life, inquest jury finds

Gareth Naughton

PR executive Kate Fitzgerald took her own life, an inquest jury has found. However, her father has said that he remains troubled by the circumstances of her death.

Ms Fitzgerald (25) was found hanging from a wardrobe at her home at Harty Place in Dublin 8 by two friends on August 23, 2011.

Her death made headlines when she was identified as the author of an anonymous article in the 'Irish Times' about mental-health issues in the workplace, which was published after her death.

The newspaper subsequently apologised to her employers, The Communications Clinic, saying that some assertions in her article were "not factual".

The family had raised concerns about the nature of her death following the post mortem examination.

However, state pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy ruled out any third-party involvement and said Ms Fitzgerald died as a result of hanging.

On the final day of the inquest, the jury heard that Ms Fitzgerald had been admitted to St Patrick's University Hospital on July 17, 2011, one month before her death.

Consultant psychiatrist Dr Seamus O Ceallaigh said that she had admitted taking three overdoses in recent years.

On admission, she was considered at high risk of suicide but this was downgraded over the following days and she discharged herself – against medical advice – on July 22.

She had also been attending community psychiatric services at Baggot Street Hospital since June 2011 after presenting at St Vincent's Hospital, expressing thoughts of killing herself.

Consultant psychiatrist Dr Consilia Walsh said that Ms Fitzgerald had been suffering chronic low-grade suicidal ideation for a long time and had been using alcohol to harm herself.

Dr Walsh said: "Kate said that she had never liked herself, that she had only lived for other people – her family and her friends.

"She said she had ongoing low self-esteem and eventually she would kill herself. She could not explain why she had this feeling of not wanting to live."

Giving evidence, her father Tom Fitzgerald said the family felt she had been in "good form" at the time of her death.

SELF-ESTEEM

He highlighted the gardai's failure to take photographs of the scene and the ligature used or take measurements of the wardrobe in their initial investigation.

Summing up the evidence, Coroner Dr Brian Farrell said that no-one else was involved in Ms Fitzgerald's death.

The jury returned a verdict of death by suicide and added a recommendation that photographs should be taken by attending gardai at the scene of any death.

The family declined to comment following the verdict.

Irish Independent

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