Woman's concerns about neighbours 'brushed under the carpet' before she took her own life

A coroner has accused police of "brushing under the carpet" a woman's problems with her neighbours before she took her own life.

Ms Dunn's home in Penkridge.
Ms Dunn's home in Penkridge.

Amanda Dunn made several calls to police about disputes she was having with her neighbours but they did nothing about it, South Staffordshire Coroner Andrew Haigh said.

Mr Haigh was criticised the Staffordshire force and warned there could be more deaths if vulnerable people are made to feel they have nowhere to turn.

An inquest heard Ms Dunn, of Woodtherne Close, Penkridge, took her own life on March 21. She was said to have had a history of mental illness.

She lived with her husband on the estate near the A449 for more than 30 years.

The coroner said a "major reason for her fatal actions was an ongoing problem with her neighbours".

Ms Dunn had received "aggravation" from a set of neighbours over the past two years and had contacted police, he said in a report to prevent future deaths.

It's understood officers had visited the property on at least one occasion.

Mr Haigh said in the report to Staffordshire Police: "Police were contacted several times but took no action. The evidence I heard clearly seemed to amount to harassment."

He continued: "I realise I have only heard one side of the story but there is a real concern that police are seeking to brush such incidents under the carpet and not taking them sufficiently seriously.

"Clearly, I do not want another death reported to me of a similar nature."

There was a dispute between neighbours.

Neighbours who spoke to the Express & Star said Ms Dunn was friendly and would always stop to say hello. They said they were aware there had been problems with other residents.

Rosalind Holmes, 60, said she saw Ms Dunn a few days before she died.

She said: "She was lovely, she had a heart of gold. Before this happened she was always really happy but towards the end she was clearly distressed."

Glynis Beacham said: "She was a nice lady, she would say hello to everyone. Whenever I saw her in the street with the dogs she would stop to say hello. It is awful what happened."

Staffordshire Police said it would be meeting with Ms Dunn's family in light of the coroner's comments.

A spokesman said: "Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with Amanda’s family.

"The Chief Constable received a Regulation 28 Report to Prevent Future Deaths from HM Coroner Andrew Haigh following the inquest investigating Amanda Dunn’s death. The force will meet personally with Amanda’s family to understand the issues and carefully consider the circumstances.We will respond to HM Coroner by September 24 as set out in the report."

Mr Haigh gave a conclusion of suicide while suffering anxiety and depression.

* If you have been affected by this article, you can call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit Samaritans.org.

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