- Sarah Bradley had a chemistry PhD and worked for pharmaceutical giant
- But she struggled with bi-polar disorder and post-natal depression after the birth of her two sons
- Failed to turn up for dinner with estranged husband and was found dead
- She was discharged early from a mental health unit before she died
A brilliant scientist killed herself by jumping on a train because she was worried she was a bad mother to her two young children, an inquest has heard.
Sarah Bradley had a successful career as a chemist at a pharmaceutical firm, but she struggled with post-natal depression and bi-polar disorder.
The 43-year-old mother told one of her son’s friends that she was a ‘bad person’, and claimed that the boys – both aged under 12 – would be ‘better off without her’.
In September last year, she failed to show up for dinner with her estranged husband Adrian, and her body was later found next to the railway tracks near her home in Boxford, Berkshire.
Tragedy: Sarah Bradley, pictured with husband Adrian, killed herself after worrying about her parenting skills
Mr Bradley told the inquest in Newbury that he had often tried to reassure his wife about her parenting skills, but she refused to accept it.
He said: ‘Sarah would constantly say she was a terrible mother, people like her shouldn’t have children and the children would be better off without her. She had constant feelings of inadequacy as a mother.
‘When she wasn’t in a low mood she was the life and soul, she was a wonderful person.’
The inquest heard that Mr Bradley had raised concerns about his wife’s mental state, but she was discharged early from a mental health unit and doctors failed to record her husband’s warnings.
The couple, who both had doctorates first got together in 1995, and were married in 2001. They moved to Boxford after Mrs Bradley completed her chemistry PhD at Bristol University and started working for Bayer, a multi-national pharmaceutical company.
However, they separated in February last year after Mrs Bradley’s bouts of depression became more and more severe.
Couple: Mr and Mrs Bradley became estranged when Mrs Bradley began to suffer from increasingly severe depression and bi-polar disorder
The inquest was told that the pair had been due to meet up for dinner with their children on the day that she died, and that she may have chosen this moment to kill herself because she knew her sons were safe with their father.
When she did not turn up Mr Bradley rushed around to the family home where he found her keys in the front door, her car missing and 14 letters arranged on the dining room table addressed to friends and family. Her body was found by police two miles away.
The afternoon before, she had tearfully told a schoolgirl who was friends with her sons: ‘You are good people and I’m a bad person. Make sure you look after [the boys] for me.’
Mrs Bradley’s family claimed that her husband had driven her to her death by subjecting her to ‘emotional abuse and mental torture’, the inquest heard.
In a statement her sister Rosie Mclauchlan, said she believed that Mr Bradley’s behaviour ‘contributed significantly’ to his wife’s depression, adding: ‘Adrian told Sarah constantly that she was mentally ill.’
But coroner Peter Bedford said that this was ‘at best an over-simplification of the situation’, adding: ‘Sarah herself conceded in conversation that some of her expressed views had been delusional.’
Work: Mrs Bradley was a chemist at pharmaceutical firm Bayer, whose headquarters in Newbury are pictured
Asked about the allegations, Mr Bradley said: ‘From my point I loved Sarah very much and I did all I could to care for her for over 20 years.
‘Possibly I did the wrong things, but I did my best and I certainly could not have done any more.’
The coroner took the rare step of criticising hospital authorities for the failings in Mrs Bradley’s care after they ignored Mr Bradley’s warnings.
An independent investigator said that it had been ‘unwise and potentially dangerous’ for doctors at Prospect Park hospital in Reading to fail to record her husband’s comments.
Mr Bradley tried to tell the hospital that they were wrong to discharge her, adding: ‘I think Sarah may have felt completely on her own at that stage.’
Recording a narrative verdict, Mr Bedford ruled that Sarah ‘took her own life whilst suffering from depression and bi-polar disorder.’
He added that she had been ‘discharged prematurely from the community support programme in September 2014 and without psychiatric review while expressing suicidal ideas.’
Speaking after the hearing, Sarah’s lifelong friend Helen King said: ‘She was incredibly talented, she was very musical and her singing voice was beautiful.
‘The only word to sum her up would be nurturing. She was so loving, she gave so much of her love to other people.
‘She was, contrary to what she thought, the most loving and attentive mother. She was absolutely amazing with the boys and it’s tragic she couldn’t see that. There was so much love coming from her.’
For confidential support on suicide matters in the UK, call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90, visit a local Samaritans branch or click here
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Chemist killed herself 'because she thought she was a bad mother'
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