A former glamour model was found hanged by her young son after her life ”spiralled out of control” due to a severe drinking problem, an inquest heard today.
Magazine pin up Monica McDermott, 44, would drink white wine and champagne claiming it helped it helped with her anxiety.
But she suffered depression and checked into a rehabilitation clinic after telling her sister: ”Help me kill myself – my son would be better off without me.”
Last December 5, a row broke out at her home in Macclesfield, Cheshire when the her 12-year-old son and her mother had to wrestle a bottle of sparkling wine from her.
The boy subsequently found his mother hanged in her bedroom when he went to check on her.
Miss McDermott was taken to hospital in a critical condition but died a week later after doctors discovered the incident left her with severe brain damage.
This week a coroner ruled she hanged herself as ”cry for help” in the belief she would be found in time but said she did not intentionally try to kill herself.
The Warrington hearing was told Miss McDermott had forged a successful career in modeling after passing ten GCSEs and completing A levels at school and had led a healthy lifestyle.
She modelled at Brands Hatch as a Ducati Corse girl and also featured on the SBK World Superbike Championship calendar as well as modelling in various glamour magazines.
But away from the camera and glamorous lifestyle, Miss McDermott was drinking heavily and was banned from the roads for drink driving in 2012 and 2015.
Her mother Noreen McDermott said in a statement: ”She led a very clean life. She was interested in herbal remedies, was conscious of germs and had an obsession with steam cleaning.
"Myself and the family did not realise that Monica had a problem with alcohol until around 2015. She then collapsed in 2016 due to her being in an alcohol-induced coma and we became aware that her drinking had spiralled out of control.
"She said it was to self medicate and said that she had to have it because she may have a seizure if she did not. Myself and my other daughter tried to help and in February 2017, we went to Monica’s house and cleared out all of the alcohol.
"On a walk with her sister, she said to her: ‘help me kill myself’. She stated her son would be better off without her and insisted that she needed to continue to drink for self medication.
"She attended rehabilitation in Warrington for 13 days and after about a week of returning home she went to Marbella for a holiday to relax. She said she had nothing to drink while there. On December 4 she sounded drunk on the phone but she sounded positive talking about a new job and the new year.
"On December 5, I went to Monica’s house and when I arrived the door was ajar which was not unusual. But when I walked in and said hello, Monica appeared and looked like she had been drinking.
”She was wearing a pair of pyjamas and I got the impression that Monica and her son had been arguing prior to my arrival. I was sat watching TV when the next thing I heard was my grandson shouting ‘nana nana nana’.
"Monica had a bottle of champagne in her hands which we took off her. She went upstairs and me and my grandson watched TV. A short time later my grandson went upstairs with a packet of crisps to give to his mum.
”After Eastenders we both turned to each other and I said: ‘go and check on mum’ – her son went upstairs and seconds later I could hear him screaming and calling ‘nana’. I can still hear them screams now’.
"Monica was an independent lady, a successful model and a loving, caring mother to her son. Although she did not live close to her family, she kept in regular contact with us.”
Miss McDermott’s GP, Dr James Liptrot said: "On March 27, 2017 she visited the surgery. She had been drinking heavily two months ago due to anxiety.
"She said that she had not drank alcohol for four weeks but had feelings of anxiety She mentioned she had polyuria which can be a symptom of diabetes.
"On assessment she appeared to be speaking fast, she had a depression score of 8 and an anxiety score of 11. She was prescribed an antidepressant and was given a course for two weeks. Diabetes tests came back negative but she was referred to alcohol liaison services.
"On April 4, I reviewed her again to explain blood tests were normal and she said she had not a drink in the last six weeks. She had been feeling excessive thirst but had no feelings of polyuria.
"Her mood had been stable and sleep had been ok. There were no thoughts of self harm or suicide but there was some feelings of lethargy. On May 16 she said that she decided not to take the depression tablets as she help could herself out.
"She had not drank any alcohol and had been exercising regularly. She was not on any prescribed medication at the time of her death.”
Det Sgt Angela Coppock of Cheshire Police who investigated the tragedy said: "When Noreen McDermott arrived at the house at 7pm, Monica was drunk and it was clear to her that there had been argument between her and her son resulting in her going up to her bedroom.
"She came back downstairs to get some more alcohol but her son refused it and she went back upstairs. After watching Eastenders, he went back upstairs to check on his mother and found her. There appeared to be nothing to suggest any suspicious circumstances or any third party involvement."
Recording an open verdict coroner Claire Welch said: "There was a period of time from March 2017 where she had been reporting increased alcohol intake due to anxiety – she did however report no signs of self harm or suicide.
"The central importance to me in this case is that her son and mother had periodically been upstairs to see her on that evening, Monica could have been aware of the fact that both her son and mother were both downstairs and could appear in the bedroom to check on her.
"My view is that I cannot be satisfied so that I am sure that she did it with the intention of ending her life – as she may have done it with the intention of being found by her son or mother.
"Suicide has to be ruled out. This may well have been a cry for help intending to be found. Whether she intended to take her own life cannot be ascertained."
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