A LANDLADY accused of staging a robbery in her club ended her own life, a coroner has ruled.
Kim Collins was found dead in her car in the East Boldon Library car park, East Boldon, on June 15.
Ms Collins had been at the centre of a long-running court case in which she was alleged to have faked a terrifying late-night raid at The Big Club, in Station Road, Boldon Colliery, in June last year.
An inquest into her death heard how the 43-year-old taped up the vents in her car and released gas from a carbon dioxide (CO2) cylinder into the vehicle.
Police were called to the scene by a dog walker, who spotted the car with her body inside and two Alsatian dogs, who survived.
Suicide notes were found in the car which read, “CO2 gas, no autopsy please, I just want to go in peace. Thank you”.
The notes also made reference to her dogs, saying that she wanted to take them with her.
Police identified Ms Collins through her car’s licence plate and a female officer who recognised her.
Inquiries later revealed Ms Collins had been referred to mental health services in the months before her death.
Coroner Terence Carney said: “The family had no indication, although she was stressed and worried, that self harm of this nature would be on her mind.”
Dr Clive Bloxham, a consultant pathologist at Newcastle Royal Victoria Infirmary, said a level of antidepressant, which she had been prescribed, was found in her system. Although the levels were high, they were not enough to be fatal.
He said there was no apparent cause of death, and surmised it was a result of the deprivation of oxygen and CO2 poisoning.
Mr Carney said: “She would not have physically suffered. She would have simply fallen asleep.”
David Pears, of the South Tyneside Crisis Team, said Ms Collins had been referred to them by her GP in March after she had attempted a drug overdose.
He told yesterday’s hearing that he had visited Ms Collins at home and that she appeared “warm and bubbly”.
He said Ms Collins had spoken of “family troubles” and was worried about the ongoing court case, but did not feel she was at risk of suicide or self harm and had expressed embarrassment over her previous overdose.
Mr Carney said: “This is a personal tragedy for the family and it causes me some measure of discomfort that we are making a public case of what is such a personal tragedy.
“My recorded verdict in this case will be that she ended her life during a period of acute depression. I’m in no doubt at all that this was another episode of this depression that she had experienced months before.
“Undoubtedly she felt that whatever the stresses and strains of her life at the time, this was the way that she could resolve her difficulties. It’s sad but that was her call.”
Coroner’s finding: She ended her own life during a period of acute depression.