21 Jul 2017

Shock As Woman Takes Her Own Life After Her House Was Flooded

A completely heartbroken woman has taken her own life after her home was flooded as many as 38 times in 12 years.
Catherine McColl
A woman identified as Catherine McColl, took her own life after her home flooded 38 times in 12 years, her friends and family said today.

According to Metro UK, Catherine McColl was ‘driven to despair’ by her house, which had a drainage issue that left the sewage below constantly overflowed.

She was found dead by her partner just months after she had returned home following floods that had forced her into temporary accommodation.

An inquest into her death heard the flooding had caused her ‘significant distress’ after she was left unable to stay in her home in Woking, Surrey, in spring 2016.

Ms McColl’s bereaved partner, Mark Williams said: ‘It was just woefully inadequate assistance from the water board.
‘In the time I knew Catherine I burned out three jet washers because the water board were so useless we would have to clean it up.’

The flooding had gone on for several years but in 2016, it became so bad she was forced out of her home.

Family said it took a heavy toll on her.

‘Even after she moved back in, the carpet was damp and she didn’t have any furniture,’ Mr Williams said.

The 46-year-old’s home was seriously flooded again with water – which washed in excrement and female hygiene products – just days before her death on September 18 last year.

Woking Coroner’s Court heard Mr Williams describe the moment he found her.

He said: ‘I used to stay at her address a few nights a week. I decided to have a sleep in the mid-afternoon and remember I got up at 8pm.

‘I got up to go to the toilet and noticed the whole house was in darkness which was unusual because I didn’t think Catherine would have gone out.

‘I walked to the toilet and turned on the light and as I walked back, I saw out of the corner of my eye Catherine’s elbow and shoulder.

‘I saw her lips were blue and hands and face were very cold. I began to give her CPR and realised she needed an ambulance. Paramedics continued CPR, but police said Catherine had died.’

The woman died in her home in this UK residential area

A post-mortem examination found the cause of death was hanging.

Assistant Coroner for Surrey, Caroline Topping, said she could not be sure if Ms McColl intended to kill herself or if the act was a ‘cry for help’ as her family believed.

Recording a narrative conclusion, she said: ‘Her difficulties were compounded by the suicide of a friend in 2015 and the flooding of her own home in 2016.

‘By September she was back in her own house but was ill.

‘The family members who saw her do not recall her behaviour as being out of the ordinary.

‘I also note her family thought this might be a cry for help. While I am satisfied she took her own life I note she did not leave any note and was aware Mr Williams was in the house.

‘While there had been previous attempts I’m not clear those attempts were serious suicide attempts or cries for help.

‘On the evidence before me I am not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt she intended to take her own life.

‘It is not possible to find what her intention was at the time of the death.’

After the inquest, Mr Williams said he thought the tragic incident would never have happened if the flooding issues had been solved at his partner’s home.

‘If this sewer problem wasn’t there we wouldn’t be here right now,’ he said. ‘That’s what drove her to despair. She loved her house, all she wanted was the sewer fixed.’

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