Worthing mum's stab death puzzle

A DOTING mother who suffered from depression died after stabbing herself three times and puncturing her own lung, a coroner decided.

Julie Cross had a history of mental illness, an inquest at Worthing heard on Tuesday.

During the hearing, a transcript of a police interview with Rhys Cotton, a family friend who lived with Julie, was read out.

In it, he said he found Julie, 41, lying in a pool of blood in her bedroom at her Limbrick Lane home on June 27 last year.

Paramedic John Akhurst went to the scene after Rhys called 999 from his mobile phone. He and three colleagues attempted to revive Julie, but she was pronounced dead at Worthing Hospital.

Det Chief Insp Steve John said Mr Cotton was initially arrested on suspicion of murder as there was concern about his account of events. But he was released without charge.

Evidence read from Dr Duncan Angus, a consultant psychiatrist who had treated Julie, said she came from a difficult background.

She was taken into care aged nine and over the years had been in a series of violent relationships.

Two of her ex-partners committed suicide and in 2005 she started taking amphetamine to help her cope.

At the start of 2007 she had given up the drugs and was going to the Mind day centre, but in May she stopped going.

Forensic pathologist Dr Robert Chapman, who conducted a post mortem, said the wounds to her abdomen were consistent with being self-inflicted.

But in a statement read out from Julie's sister, Mandy Cross, she said Julie lived for her son and doted on him completely: "My family cannot believe she got up that morning, got washed and dressed, and then killed herself."

Julie's son, Terry Greenslade, 22, said he had once come home and found a noose hanging from the loft hatch. He also said she had told him on several occasions she did not want to live.

Recording a verdict of misadventure, coroner Penelope Schofield said based on the professional evidence given she was satisfied Julie's wounds were self-inflicted. "We found no note and we don't know whether this was an intention to take her own life or whether it was, in fact, a cry for help."

Speaking afterwards, Julie's sister Mandy, of Samphire Drive, Durrington, said: "I was hoping for answers and some closure but I haven't got it.

"I still think there was a third party involved, as I just don't believe she killed herself."