Frankie Warren from Thornbury committed suicide after battling depression, inquest told
A THORNBURY office worker took her own life after battling depression and developing an obsession with her hair colour, an inquest heard.
Frances Warren, 26, from Hill Brook Road, who was known as Frankie, was reported missing by worried family members on May 29 last year after she failed to turn up for work and did not answer their phone calls.
Her body was found 80 miles from her home in a woodland in Sedgley, near Dudley in the West Midlands, two days later.
Avon Coroner’s Court heard on Monday how Miss Warren had become fixated with her blonde hair colour and was convinced it looked yellow and ginger.
The court heard that Miss Warren became unhappy with her hairstyle after her sister's wedding in January 2013.
She had her hair coloured multiple times in the following months but was convinced it wasn’t blonde enough.
From May 19 Miss Warren bombarded hairdresser Kelly Hill with over 50 messages pleading with her to fix her hair.
In a statement read to the court Ms Hill said: “I had 50 messages from Frankie wanting me to fix her hair because she wasn’t happy with it.”
Ms Hill said she often left her mobile phone in her car as a result.
Ms Hill said that when she saw Miss Warren's hair it “didn’t look like it needed anything done to it” and she agreed to put blonde highlights in for Miss Warren because “she sounded so desperate to sort it out”.
Ms Hill said that when she finished doing her hair Ms Warren asked her to take pictures in every room of the house to see what it looked like in the light.
On May 29 Miss Warren did not go to work and told her mother she was feeling unwell.
Ms Hill said Miss Warren contacted her on May 29 complaining that her hair still looked yellow and wanted more highlights.
"She just wanted something done to get rid of the yellow. I told her I could put a toner on.
"I did warn her that it would look black to her because she was already so white from the bleach. Once I finished her hair she looked in the mirror and said she ‘hated it’.
"She became stressed and freaked out by the look.
"She then asked me to bleach her hair but I said I couldn't.
"All of a sudden her mood changed and she became very calm and told me she just needed to go for a drive to clear her head.”
She disappeared in her silver Honda Civic after the two hour appointment with Ms Hill.
Miss Warren’s partner of six years Sam Cotton said in a statement that Miss Warren became “fixated” with her hair and had it coloured four to five times in the space of a few months.
In his statement he said: “She wouldn’t listen to me or the hairdressers. It took over her life.
“I was really worried about how she was acting.”
Frankie’s friend Victoria McCullough said in a statement: "I can recall her ringing me and telling me 'It's gone ginger, hasn't it?'
Ms McCullough said Miss Warren told her: “It’s all taking its toll on me with my hair. I can’t cope. No-one can change how I feel.
"I recall her saying she didn’t feel herself and that she didn’t want to be here but not for one moment did I think she was suicidal.
The court also heard how in December 2012 Miss Warren moved out of the home she shared with Mr Cotton. They both moved in with their parents so they could save money for a mortgage.
Ellie Harper, a colleague of Miss Warren’s at Mobility Operations Bristol, told the court that Miss Warren was upset by the move back to her parents.
She said Miss Warren would sometimes become emotional at work and would be sent home.
Thornbury GP Dr Mark Thompson told the hearing that he saw Miss Warren for an appointment on May 14.
“She came to see me because she didn’t feel herself. She said this had been going on for about four months. She said it started when she moved out from living with her boyfriend and moving back in with her parents.”
Dr Thompson referred her to Lift Psychology, a psychotherapy and counselling organisation.
The inquest heard both her doctor and the psychologists diagnosed Miss Warren with depression and anxiety issues brought on by a combination of changing accommodation and an unhappiness about her hair.
Neither said they believed her to be a risk to herself.
Aileen McArthur, head of services for Lift Psychology, told the court: “She wasn’t classed as being a high risk of harming herself because she talked about her future and a plan of how she wanted her future to be.”
Assistant Coroner Terence Moore recorded a verdict that Miss Warren took her own life and that the cause of death was consistant with a history of hanging. He added that there was no doubt that Miss Warren was severly depressed.
“In the circumstances I can say that she took her own life and at that moment she intended to do it. That must be my conclusion this afternoon.
“I offer my sincere condolences to all her family and friends.”
Miss Warrens' sister Catherine Pinnock told the Gazette: "Unknown to her family and friends, Frankie was suffering with depression for some time.
"Depression is a very serious and deadly illness which affects one in four people. However, little is known about depression, how to treat it or help people with it. The fact that is it so common yet many people know nothing about it is worrying. It is still such a taboo subject and there is just not enough awareness made to how serious and life threatening this illness really is. Depression is a long lasting melancholic sadness which is ingrained and won't go away.
"My sister did not take her own life. The illness took her life. If she had the correct help and treatment she could still be here today."