Open verdict on mother

A mother who had suffered from depression since her son died from leukaemia when he was just 11 was found dead in the River Tyne at Prudhoe, an inquest in Hexham heard yesterday.

A mother who had suffered from depression since her son died from leukaemia when he was just 11 was found dead in the River Tyne at Prudhoe, an inquest in Hexham heard yesterday.

Ann Gibson, 57, of South Park, Hexham, was found near Ovingham Bridge on October 29 last year, only four days after it would have been her son Richard's 21st birthday.

Mrs Gibson, a supply teacher, was said to have had mental health problems and had made two attempts to take her life by jumping off bridges in the past. She was also known to self harm.

Her daughter, Rachel Gibson, who lived with her, raised the alarm after she returned home that morning, having spent the night with her boyfriend, to find her mother missing and a note which read: "I'm so frightened, I'm sorry, I love you."

Her body was found by David Cuthbert, of Ovingham, as he was walking home over the bridge. He said he saw something floating in the river and realised it was a body.

A post-mortem examination report gave the cause of death as serious head injuries and said a high number of anti-psychotic drugs, anti-depressants and drugs for epileptics were also present.

Mrs Gibson's mother-in-law, Mary Gibson, of Rotherham, told the inquest she thought her son's birthday may have been playing on her mind.

Coroner Eric Armstrong said he was unable to say how she came to be in the river and how the drugs had got into her system. He said: "I have nothing to base a verdict of suicide, equally I have nothing to say that this was an accident. Therefore the only verdict I can record is an open one."

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