Doncaster girl who overdosed on anxiety medication had suicidal thoughts

COURT: Court Case
COURT: Court Case

A teenager girl from Doncaster had spoken of suicidal thoughts before she overdosed on anxiety medication, an inquest has heard.

The Daily Mirror reports that Laura Beth Newlands, aged 15, had expressed suicidal thoughts to several professionals before she was found dead in her bedroom in August 2011.

The youngster, who had moved to Rhyl in Wales with family, said she been feeling low and was being bullied at school.

Speaking at Ruthin County Hall on Monday, dad Andrew Newlands said life changed for the family after he was badly beaten and left in a coma while they were living in Doncaster.

By the time they moved to Rhyl for a fresh start, his personality changed, he began feeling angry and had developed an alcohol problem.

The sole carer for his mentally ill wife and their two children, he said Laura became quiet and ran away back to Doncaster on a number of occasions, reports Wales Online.

In the weeks leading up to her death, she had been in contact with social workers and told them she had been having suicidal thoughts.

She was admitted to hospital but, after staying with an aunt in Doncaster, she had “seemed happier” when she returned to Rhyl one month later.

Mr Newlands admitted he felt partly responsible for her death as she overdosed on his anxiety medication.

“I should’ve done more. I feel part of the blame is mine for not listening to her.

“I would do things differently to what I have done throughout Laura’s life.

“I’ve had a lot of time to think about it. I have blamed myself on numerous occasions. It was my fault,” he said.

But Laura’s uncle William said everyone failed the youngster.

“The whole process is not about attributing blame to anybody,” he said.

“We all, every one of us involved in her life had something to do with her death and I had my own part in that.”

He said there was “miscommunication” and errors on behalf of social services and said he felt they must learn from mistakes made to prevent other deaths.

Laura’s auntie Fiona Barwell took her in for one month before social services said she could return to North Wales without her consent.

“I didn’t want her to go back,” she said.

“If social services had not let her go to Wales, my niece could still have been alive today.”

Solicitors acting on behalf of the family say professionals including school counsellors, doctors and social workers had been involved with Laura for a number of years.

The inquest continues.