A bridesmaid struggling to get over a break-up while all her best friends were getting married died when a ‘cry for help’ attempt to take her own life accidentally succeeded, a coroner ruled.
Business development manager Danielle Saul, 31, was found hanged in her Manchester apartment following a night out with friends in June last year.
Friends and family knew at the time that she was desperate to follow all those closest to her by settling down to marry.
However, she was single and said to have been finding it difficult to move on from a previous relationship that ended five years earlier.
After meeting her ex on the night in question, she invited him and his friends back to her flat in Fallowfield to continue drinking.
But when they failed to reconcile and he left the following morning, Ms Saul took her own life.
Her body was found hanged in the flat three days later by a friend who had become concerned after not hearing from her.
An inquest, however, concluded that Ms Saul’s death was misadventure rather than suicide. Coroner Jean Harkin said there was not enough evidence to prove that she had died as the result of a deliberate act.
Addressing the hearing, Ms Harkin said: ‘It is clear she was experiencing some stresses at work and in her personal relationships.
‘It is clear that her family don’t believe she intended to take her own life.
‘I must be satisfied that Danielle intended to die by the act. I don’t feel I have the evidence beyond reasonable doubt that she intended to die. I believe the evidence points to an attempt.
‘I believe alcohol may have had an intoxicating impact whereby the full outcome of her actions may not have been totally realised.’
Ms Saul – who graduated from Edge Hill University in Liverpool with a degree in education and art and began working in recruitment – was described as being ambitious, bright and fun-loving when at work and socialising but secretly longed to settle down and marry.
In the years proceeding her death, she was invited to several hen parties and weddings and was asked to be bridesmaid to her best friend.
However, she herself was single and lived alone with her cat, leaving her to sink into a state of depression.
On separate occasions, she sent messages to a friend saying, ‘I feel like dying’, and a photograph of herself crying.
When the group of friends went out in June last year, Ms Saul bumped into her former long-term boyfriend.
She invited the unnamed man and his friends back to the flat she owned for further drinks but became upset when he left the following day – leading her to believe they would never be getting back together.
At some point over the next 72 hours, she ended her life.
Her mother Karen Saul, from Preston, Lancashire, told the inquest: ‘She had had a couple of long-term relationships, one of which was around five years ago, and then that broke up but she still had feelings for him and found it difficult.
‘I think she had an overload that weekend with the upset from her previous relationship. She had met up with that person and I think she hoped they would get back together.
‘She had a difficult time at work a few months prior to that in her previous job where she had a very difficult bullying boss who got her upset.
‘I believe she went to the doctors about that in November 2014, and it seems around then three or four of her best friends got married.
‘At the time quite a number of her friends were getting married and she was going to hen parties and she was going to be bridesmaid and I think she got overloaded with these things and emotionally things became exaggerated.’
A post-mortem exam revealed Ms Saul had 162mg of alcohol in 100mg of blood, more than double the legal driving limit – raising fears she ‘impulsively’ took the decision as a ‘cry for help’. No note was found with her body.
Speaking of her daughter’s possible intentions, Mrs Saul added: ‘It might have been a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Had she talked about it we would have been there for her.’
Ms Saul’s best friend Lucy Nixon, who had known her for 15 years, said the pair met up before their planned night out on the Saturday.
She said: ‘She was very down.
‘She always used very intensive words and we were expressive with one another. Saying “I feel like dying” would not be unusual.
‘She sent me a photo of herself crying on Saturday. Going for drinks would be a huge distraction and she wouldn’t bring that up. She did tell me in 2014 that she wanted to see a counsellor because she needed to deal with her demons.’
Ms Harkin recorded a conclusion of death by misadventure.