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Woman intended to kill herself by entering sea at Norfolk beach

PUBLISHED: 17:54 09 July 2018 | UPDATED: 18:01 09 July 2018

Carol Smalley. Picture: Norfolk Police

Carol Smalley. Picture: Norfolk Police

Norfolk Police

A 54-year-old woman walked into the sea at an east Norfolk beach and drowned at a place where she had “treasured memories” of holidays, an inquest has heard.

Search and Rescue teams working in the Hopton area to find missing women Carol Smalley.
Picture: Nick ButcherSearch and Rescue teams working in the Hopton area to find missing women Carol Smalley. Picture: Nick Butcher

Carol Smalley was last seen on CCTV walking towards the beach at Hopton January 4, the day after she had gone missing from her home.

An the inquest at Suffolk Coroners Court in Ipswich was told that the body of Miss Smalley was discovered on January 9 on the beach at Minsmere by an RSPB volunteer.

Miss Smalley, a post office clerk of Medlock Crescent, Spalding, had left a note on the day she disappeared saying she felt suicidal and after arriving in Great Yarmouth sent a text to her family telling them she planned to kill herself at Hopton.

Personal possessions were found on Hopton beach, leading to a major search by police, coastguards, lifeboats and volunteers to find her but without success.

Search and Rescue teams working in the Hopton area to find missing women Carol Smalley.
Picture: Nick ButcherSearch and Rescue teams working in the Hopton area to find missing women Carol Smalley. Picture: Nick Butcher

Following her body being found by Alan Buckingham, an RSPB volunteer, on the beach at Minsmere, initial identification was obtained by police from a bank card in her pocket and subsequently confirmed using dental records.

A post mortem examination by consultant pathologist Dr Matthew Di Capite concluded that death had been due to drowning.

Assistant Suffolk Coroner Kevin McCarthy said Miss Smalley had consulted her GP suffering from depression and anxiety and had expressed feelings that life was not worth living.

In a statement, counsellor Lisa Waterhouse said Miss Smalley had consulted her and said she feared losing her job which was her “lifeline”.

Search and Rescue teams working in the Hopton area to find missing women Carol Smalley.
Picture: Nick ButcherSearch and Rescue teams working in the Hopton area to find missing women Carol Smalley. Picture: Nick Butcher

The inquest heard that Miss Smalley’s family had described her as “a very kind, caring person” who enjoyed holidays, including at Hopton of which she had “treasured memories”.

Following the ending of Miss Smalley’s 30-year relationship with her partner last year, she did not seem to recover and went into a downward spiral, said her family.

Recording a conclusion that Miss Smalley took her own life while the balance of her mind was disturbed, Mr McCarthy said: “I have no doubt that she felt lonely, possibly abandoned, for reasons that were not there.”

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