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Former boss of Exeter passport office killed herself after being made redundant

By TomBevan  |  Posted: January 15, 2013

County Hall

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A former manager of the Exeter branch of the passport office that closed last year killed herself after being made redundant, an inquest heard.

Lisa Jarvis was struggling to handle her husband Paul’s psychotic episodes and her cries for help to the authorities fell on deaf ears, the hearing at County Hall was told.

And after it was announced that the IPS office in Exeter would be closed as part of a government review, Lisa lost what was described as her “only escape to a normal life.”

She was found dead on April 11 after taking an overdose of paracetamol - less than two weeks after her last day at work. Police broke in and found her in the bathroom with several suicide notes laid neatly on the floor.

Coroner Dr Elizabeth Earland said she was satisfied that Lisa, who was 44 and living in Mount Pleasant Avenue, Exmouth at the time of her death, had intended to take her own life.

Her mother Roberta Cotterill said Lisa was “devastated” when she heard of the passport office closure.

“She lost confidence, self-esteem and buoyancy,” she added.

“Her work was her only lifeline to a normal world.

“Paul and Lisa were badly served by social services and their GP. They were passed from one waiting list on to another.

“The lack of health care for my son-in–law was a disgrace. They failed to pick up Lisa’s depression and conditions she was forced to live in.

“As I got to know Paul more I thought something was not quite right about him. Lisa was always very protective and tended to shield us from the full extent of his behaviour but it would have a huge effect on her well-being.

“She was begging for help from the crisis team and he was having more and more psychotic episodes. But they were worse than useless.”

Lisa and Paul met in 1991 and married four years later. He was not present at the inquest but in a statement read out he said his wife had felt bitter about the redundancy.

“I always loved her and believe she love me,” he said. “On occasions she said she hoped she would not wake up in the morning. When Lisa asked me if I was still suicidal I said that while I still had thoughts I did not seriously intend carrying them out. Looking back I think she would have wanted a double suicide.”

Shortly before his wife’s death Paul had gone to stay at his mother’s home in Hertfordshire.

“This was not a trial separation” he said. “But I thought we needed a few days apart to get our heads straight. I had no thought at this time she would take her own life. If she told me first I might have joined her.”

Anthony Marshall the area operations manager for IPS described Lisa as an “excellent manager” but said she was aware she was having increasing difficulties at home.

He said: “Coming to work was an escape from problems at home. She hardly booked any leave as if she was at home she would have to deal with her husband’s situation. She was struggling to deal with the threat of redundancy. Paul had been violent and she once she had to run away from home to escape him.

“The news of her death came as a huge shock and saddened me a great deal. Despite her redundancy I thought she had a lot to look forward to and her death was a tremendous waste. “She was selfless, kind and very much liked by all those who knew her.”

After the inquest Lisa parents said they were trying to move on with their lives and did not wish to comment further.

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