Suicide verdict over River Cottage worker’s death

PUBLISHED: 09:51 26 July 2011

Philippa

Philippa "Pip" Corbin

Archant

Talented Philippa was suffering from depression.

A TALENTED member of the River Cottage team from Axminster took her own life after suffering from depression and anxiety sparked by uncertainty over her job, an inquest heard.

Philippa Joan Corbin, 27, formerly of Trinity Terrace, was found dead at her parents’ home in Rocombe, Uplyme, on Friday, January 21.

The inquest heard that the assistant manager for River Cottage had contacted her GP when she was feeling stressed at work and was later referred to a specialist for counselling.

She received medication for her depression and began seeing a counsellor between December 7, 2010, and January 14, 2011, whom she saw on three occasions.

In a statement, Catherine Davies, an integrative counsellor and psychotherapist, said: “I was shocked and saddened to hear of Philippa’s death.

“Our clinical work, after three sessions, was still in its infancy and, in my professional opinion, Philippa seemed to be experiencing a break-down of her personality construct.

During these meetings, she had denied any suicidal intentions over the Christmas period because of the strong support she received from her family.

She said much of Philippa’s anxiety was based on work-related worries but on their last meeting Philippa seemed to be looking ahead and making plans for the future and cancelled their next session with the view of rescheduling it,

The inquest heard that she was concerned her job was in jeopardy and was frustrated about not being kept informed by the company.

In a witness statement, a former colleague said Philippa had a telephone conversation on the day she died with a director from River Cottage and recalled that she was frustrated and felt she had not been given the answers she wanted.

He also said that she had spoken with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and was heard to say “I just want to know where I stand”.

Philippa did not speak any further about this conversation, but was described as being a lot quieter. On the day of her death, Philippa visited her parents and her father, Hugh, said that she appeared to be in good spirits.

The deputy coroner for Exeter and Greater Devon, Darren Salter, told the inquest that he was satisfied that Philippa did intend to take her own life and returned a verdict of suicide.

He said: “The letter does indicate Philippa’s intention about taking her own life.”

He added: “The medical cause of death is death by hanging. I am satisfied by the evidence that on January 21 the deceased hung herself on a roof post in the garage.

“The verdict indicates that she took her own life while she was mentally disturbed.”


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