Suicide verdict after woman finds lesbian wife hanged

12:33 24 July 2014

A young woman had been discussing her future plans to have children with her lesbian wife the day before she was found hanged.

A suicide note left by Ellen Bettaney Lygate, 26, was a clear indication she planned to take her own life, a coroner ruled yesterday.

Her body was found by her wife, Grace Ang-Lygate, whom she married in a civil ceremony last year.

Coroner Dr Shirley Radcliffe, returned a verdict of suicide and said: “It is not clear what was going through her mind at the time and we will never know.”

Accountant Ellen, who had a history of depression, was discovered in the bedroom of her home in Windmill Lane, Stratford, on October 20, 2013, where the couple had lived together for three years.

Walthamstow Coroners’ Court heard how she had told her wife about having suicidal thoughts in the past, but had scared herself when she started writing a suicide note.

Speaking to the Recorder after the verdict, Grace said: “Elle and I were together from the age of 21 and losing her has left a huge hole in my life.”

In court she explained the pair had been having relationship problems in the weeks leading up to her death, but had recently reconciled.

The day before Ellen took her own life, Grace described her as “oddly calm” and said the pair talked about having children.

They even made Christmas plans and discussed joining a gay-friendly church.

“We had talked about suicide together but she always said it was something she wouldn’t do because of her parents,” Grace told the court.

“When I found her body I was in complete shock. Nothing specifically at that time made me think she’d take her own life.”

Ellen’s sister, Laura Morgan, described her as “intelligent, rational and funny”.

She told the court Ellen had been “devastated” about an affair Grace had had, which she believed took place eight week’s after their civil partnership ceremony.

Ellen had suffered from Churg-Strauss Syndrome, a rare disorder marked by blood vessel inflammation.

Her GP, Doctor Muir, explained the condition meant Ellen would struggle to have children and on Friday 18, 2013, a clinic had told her she needed to “get a move on”.

She added: “Two days before her death she seemed sad, sensible and resigned.

“The medication she was on can cause sudden depression in a few hours and I think that must have been what happened.”


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