Monday, 28 Sep 2020

Woman fell from cliff with her dogs after years of suffering from depression

A woman jumped to her death from a cliff with her two dogs after struggling with mental health problems for more than a decade, an inquest was told.

The bodies of Carla Kidd, 45, and her two pets were found on November 28 last year following a search along the Cornish coast.

An inquest into her death in Truro heard she had ‘a history of prolonged and aggravated mental health issues’ dating back to at least 2004, when she moved to the area with former partner David Rands.

He had reported her missing the previous day after receiving a worrying text message saying she was at the cliffs and intended to jump off with the two dogs, Nathan and Kiera.

Speaking shortly after her death Mr Rands urged people not to judge Carla for taking the animals with her.

He told Cornwall Live: ‘People have been commenting about her decision to take the dogs. But they can’t make that opinion because they didn’t know Carla.

‘She worshipped those dogs and they were her only companion for a long time. She was obviously very troubled.’

The inquest heard Carla had suffered from anxiety and depression and had been displaying ‘paranoid and manic’ behaviour for several years.

An animal lover, she also ‘became obsessed with opposing badger culls’ and would drive around trying to find people out shooting them.

Mr Rands contacted her doctor in 2015 relaying his fears over her deteriorating mental health, but she always refused to see anyone.

Although separated by late October last year the two were still in touch, and Mr Rands alerted the police of his concerns.

Two weeks earlier, Carla had posted on social media that she was intending to kill herself and her dogs.

When officers visited her at the tent she was staying in on a campsite she insisted she was ‘fine’, told them she did not want any help and denied any intentions to self-harm.

As there were no obvious signs of Carla lacking mental capacity, the officers had no choice but to leave her.

Mr Rands made a similar call to police on November 27 after receiving a text saying she was at Hell’s Mouth, but there was no sign of her by the time he got there.

Carla was immediately designated as a high-risk missing person and land, sea and air searches were launched.

Shortly after 11pm, Carla’s dogs were found deceased at the base of cliffs. But due to darkness, the search for Carla was suspended and resumed at daylight the following morning.

Her body was discovered at around 11am between Hell’s Mouth and Basset’s Cove.

Following a post-mortem examination it was concluded that Carla died as a result of multiple injuries consistent with a fall from height.

Guy Davies, assistant coroner for Cornwall, recorded a conclusion of suicide.

In addition to highlighting her mental health issues, he noted: ‘One of the key aspects here was Carla’s refusal to accept assistance.

‘I noticed in October 2019 her ex-partner made a safeguard report to police and this was very much a last gasp chance to save Carla, but when she was seen, Carla was emphatic that she did not want any help or referral made, and she added that she had no intention of harming herself despite the posts she made on Facebook.

‘Police decided there were no obvious signs of a lack of mental capacity, and they had no option but to leave Carla in the conditions she was living, in a tent with her two dogs.

‘This severe decline in her mental health continued during October and November 2019.’

Mr Davies concluded that following a prolonged period of mental health problems, Carla intentionally took her own life.

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