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The devastated family of a woman who drove her car off a 90ft cliff have paid tribute to her, after she took her own life in an ‘impulsive act’.
Stephanie Walker, 44, was found dead in her VW Golf on October 9, at the bottom of the same cliffs where her father’s ashes had been scattered years earlier.
An inquest heard she had enjoyed a ‘brilliant’ evening at the pub with her partner, however when they returned home, their pet cat had vanished – leading to an argument.
Stephanie’s boyfriend, Jonathan Hill, told the inquest: ‘We went to the Stirling Castle pub that night and it was a brilliant evening.
‘But when we got back, an argument developed over the cat.
‘It wasn’t in so she wanted to go and look for it at 1am. It was trivial but it just spiralled out of control.
‘She became aggressive and shouted abuse. I told her she should stay at her sister’s that night.’
CCTV footage showed Stephanie of Bridlington, at an Esso service station in the seaside town a short time later.
It showed she had found her cat but it ran off when she got out of the car. She spent another half and hour looking for the animal but didn’t manage to find it.
Stephanie wrote on Facebook: ‘had enough. Love you all. The end,’ after spending half an hour searching in vain for her pet.
The inquest heard Stephanie, who had no previous mental health issues, had died instantly after driving her car over the cliff top near Bridlington.
Her death happened at the same spot her father’s ashes had been scattered after he died in a car crash as he was preparing to hold a surprise party for Stephanie’s 21st birthday.
In a statement, her family said: ‘Steph was a much-loved family member and our lives have been turned upside down.
‘She showed no signs of depression, which makes this tragedy even harder to understand.
‘Steph was a fantastic auntie and has left an enormous hole in the lives of her nephews and niece.’
Her family added: ‘Steph was an adored sister who felt her position as the eldest child was to protect her siblings.
‘This has left a mother without her oldest child and she is heartbroken.
‘The only consolation is that she chose to leave us in the same place where her dad’s ashes were scattered 23 years ago.
‘Steph has left her family devastated, but what we want most is for her to be remembered for the happy-go-lucky, full of life, beautiful person she was.
‘We don’t want her to be remembered as someone who spent her last few moments making the wrong choice, losing sight of what really mattered and giving up.
‘We want to thank family and friends for their incredible support. We miss Steph so much.’
In a statement, Stephanie’s sister, Emma Carter, said: ‘I feel Steph took her own life while she was in a very dark place for a few hours.
‘I feel it was an impulsive act.’
Senior coroner Professor Paul Marks recorded Stephanie’s death as suicide.