Charity worker took own life: inquest

A DEDICATED charity worker who was admired by her community used a plastic bag and sedatives to commit suicide, an inquest heard.

Russell Claydon

A DEDICATED charity worker who was admired by her community used a plastic bag and sedatives to commit suicide, an inquest heard.

Rosemary Schlee, 80, who was awarded an MBE for her services to Oxfam, left a handwritten note beside her bed saying she did not wish to be resuscitated.

A police investigation was launched following the discovery of her lifeless body in Melton Road, Woodbridge, on April 17, where a 52-year-old man from the town was questioned on aiding and abetting her suicide, but it was found there was no case to answer.


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During an inquest at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court yesterday Greater Suffolk Coroner Peter Dean said Mrs Schlee had clearly been “a valued member of the community” and that her loss had “touched many people”.

Oriel Laws, Mrs Schlee's daughter, submitted a statement to the inquest which said her mother had suffered from “medical issues” for a long period of time and had developed “feelings of wanting to take her own life”.

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Recording a verdict that she took her own life, Dr Dean said: “There is a lot of background detail but through it is a very clear consistent history that suggests Mrs Schlee had the full intention of taking her own life.”

He also said it was unnecessarily stressful to go into some of the details of how exactly she had carried out the suicide but a post mortem examination from Home Office pathologist Nat Carey concluded her death was a result of plastic bag asphyxiation.

Acting Detective Inspector Ian Addison, who led the police investigation following Mrs Schlee's death, told the inquest he was called to her Deben Lodge home at 3.30pm on April 17 and found the widow on a bed with her arms folded across her.

Summarising the police investigation, Dr Dean said someone was questioned on suspicion of aiding and abetting her suicide but there was not found to be any case on which to proceed.

Mrs Schlee, who married an accountant, used to run an innovative bed and breakfast scheme in which householders gave a third of their takings to Oxfam.

Her family said they did not wish to comment after the inquest.

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