FACEBOOK • CAVENDISH PRESS
A mother of four killed herself after losing custody of her children
Sheila Griffin, 36, was found not guilty.
But by then three of her four children had already moved in with their father, an inquest heard.
Just before her death Mrs Griffin, of Rochdale, complained of being “let down by the system” and left a mental health unit in the town’s Birch Hill hospital where she had sought help “facing her demons”.
Last October the support worker was found dead in her bed by her grandmother. After an inquest in Heywood, Lancashire, on Tuesday, visibly moved coroner Peter Sigee ruled she took her life in despair.
Sheila Griffin, 36, was found not guilty
I’m devastated and heartbroken. I feel she was let down many times
He said: “Sheila acted with the intention of ending her own life. “Let me express my condolences to all family and friends.”
Mrs Griffin first started showing signs of depression as a teenager and suffered post-natal depression after the births of all her children.
In 2008, while working at Highfield Hospital in Rochdale, she fell and fractured her skull, leaving her with brain damage and epilepsy.
The inquest heard how Mrs Griffin was a “good mum and a lovely person” who was married to husband Chris for 18 years.
But after they split up she was accused of sexual activity with a child in 2012. After a trial in 2014 at Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester she was found not guilty.
Get Quotes on Home Insurance
Mrs Griffin, of Rochdale, complained of being ‘let down by the system’
Her heartbroken mother Debbie Brown told the hearing: “When I last saw Sheila, we had a lovely day together.
“She was looking brilliant, smiling, buying things ready for the new accommodation she was hoping to move into.
“I had no idea she had any negative thoughts or was considering the possibility of taking her own life. She was very creative and loved making costumes for the kids and painting with them.
“I’m devastated and heartbroken. I feel she was let down many times.
“She and the family were screaming for help but I feel we were not listened to. She was a good mum, a lovely person and loved her children very much.”
She left Birch Hill hospital where she had sought help ‘facing her demons’
She added: “The serious allegation in relation to Sheila had a profound effect over the two years. She was found not guilty but during this time there were arrangements made in relation to custody of Sheila’s children.
“Chris had custody but I felt he obstructed visitation. During this time Sheila was very low in mood, due to the difficulties in having contact with her children.
“She attempted suicide and tried to fight for her children every day.”
Mrs Griffin’s grandmother Sheila Noakes said: “Sheila was a bubbly but passive person and had difficulties sticking up for herself.
The inquest heard how Mrs Griffin was a 'good mum and a lovely person'
“Her ex-husband Chris was given temporary custody of the children but as a result Sheila began to drink more and take painkillers. After that Sheila had difficulties maintaining contact with the children.
“Chris made it really hard for her.
“Sheila attempted to take her own life on four occasions. The lack of contact with the kids really hit her hard. It was heartbreaking to see her trying to cope without them around her.”
Her consultant psychiatrist while in mental care, Dr David Rimmer, said: “I was aware of the criminal allegation and know it was a major upset and a major trauma.
“She didn’t like talking about it.”