A happy-go-lucky schoolgirl who morphed into a tragic self-harming young woman after being let down by a succession of men has taken her own life in an inquest heard today (Friday).
Caitlin Feeley of Bradford was 22 at the time of her tragic and untimely death, assistant coroner Angela Brocklehurst heard. Her mother, Louise Sheard, said in a harrowing statement read out at the hearing at Bradford Coroner’s Court by coroner, Victoria Normington, how her daughter had gone from being a “bubbly, cheeky character” as a child to a teenager with problems that she was barred from her college after her behavior deteriorated.
She said: “She started with her usual happiness until Year 8, becoming aggressive towards her sisters and verbally aggressive. The school said there was nothing wrong, but by Year 9 she had been permanently excluded from the school.”
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“She was referred to CAMS, (an organization that helps treat patients at risk of suicide), at the age of 15 she revealed that she had been abused when she was 13. She did not want to name the person. She wanted to forget. .
“She met a 24-year-old man when she was 15. I told her to get it over with and she kept threatening to kill herself. She moved in with him from time to time. He abused her physically, emotionally and sexually.” Ms Feeley said that when the police got involved, he pleaded guilty.
She added: “She was vulnerable and started self-harming, it was the only way she could cope. She said it made her feel better. It broke my heart because I couldn’t stop it.”
“Caitlin started working at Napoleon’s Casino and moved into her own place in Undercliffe. She was with another man, seemed very excited about her future and talked about living in Cyprus. They even put down a deposit for a villa.”
But he kept putting it off and she was left with only a mattress and a TV after selling all her furniture after believing her boyfriend’s plans were real. The day before her death, Mrs Feeley said: “She called me crying on the phone. She thought he was cheating on her. She began to calm down.”
“The next morning she called me again crying and yelling nonsense. She said she’d talk to me later. I went to hang the clothes. Then I got a text from her asking me to call First Response, (a mental call). health crisis support service).
She said one of her daughters, Roseann, found out that Caitlin had put a message on Snapchat, which the coroner later revealed read: “I’m sorry for everyone I’ve hurt.”
She said: “I heard her scream. We were all in shock. We didn’t believe what we heard. We saw the policemen outside. I felt myself go numb and fell to the ground sobbing.”
When it came to her funeral, she said her beloved daughter, who was the seventh of nine children, was treated like a princess with the full horse and carriage treatment. She added: “If Caitlin had only realized how much she was loved, maybe things would have been different.”
Caitlin’s friend Jade Holmes, who found her body, said she was aware of her mental health issues. Speaking of her final relationship, she added: “I didn’t approve of the relationship and I think her mental health worsened because of that relationship.
“On Saturday I saw a message she had put on Snapchat. I texted her at 12:42 pm asking if she was okay. I called her but nothing. I drove to her house.”
Unfortunately, she had taken her own life and nothing could be done to resuscitate her. West Yorkshire Police said there were no suspicious circumstances. Jade added: “I didn’t think Caitlin would ever do this. I think as a result of her relationship, her mental health worsened, which led to her committing suicide.”
The coroner concluded that she had taken her own life. Another friend of Caitlin’s, Sophie Holmes, wrote last year in a gofundme petition to raise £2,500 for her funeral: “Caitlin sadly took her own life on 13th August 2022 due to her severe mental health issues. .
“She had a lot of loving friends all over this world, but sadly when your mental health affects you, there is nothing and no one who can help. She has reached her lowest point that anyone could reach.”