Woman took her life near Britannia Pier, Great Yarmouth, inquest hears

A woman whose drowned body was found in the sea near the Britannia Pier, in Great Yarmouth, told no one she intended to take her own life, an inquest heard.

Angela Gibbs, 60, booked a taxi to take her from her home in Peverell Road, Bowthorpe, to Yarmouth seafront early on January 7. Her body was spotted in the sea later that morning.

Norfolk coroner William Armstrong recorded a narrative verdict at yesterday’s Norwich inquest, and said he was not satisfied that she had planned to take her own life.

He said: “My verdict is that she died from drowning in the sea whilst in a distressed state of mind. Although she went into the sea there is insufficient evidence to enable a reliable conclusion to be drawn as to her intentions.”

The inquest heard that she had taken a taxi at about 2.15am and was dropped her off near the pier in Yarmouth just before 3am.

Mr Armstrong read a statement made by taxi driver David Jones, from Kestrel Taxis, based in Ber Street, Norwich. Mr Jones said in the statement that Mrs Gibbs had chatted to him on the taxi ride and told him she had had an argument with her boyfriend, whom she was going to meet at the pier.

Mr Jones said that she appeared to be all right when he left her, although no one met her at the pier.

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Mrs Gibbs’s son, James, who also lives in Bowthorpe, said she had been widowed for about five years, lived alone, and was being treated for bipolar disorder.

He said he last saw her at about 5.45pm on January 6 when they had a chat and she hugged him. However, he said she was upset about her boyfriend, Eric Goddard’s, car being damaged. She said nothing about going to Yarmouth – a place she disliked – or about taking her own life, he said.

Mr Armstrong read a report by her doctor which confirmed she had suffered from bipolar – a manic depressive illness – since 1989, but the doctor said she was not suicidal.

Det Sgt Mark Scott told the inquest there were no suspicious circumstances. A post mortem examination was carried out and the cause of death was given as drowning.