Gifted Hanley student was killed by pills overdose
A TRANSSEXUAL student died of an overdose after she struggled to come to terms with her desire to live as a woman, an inquest heard.
Natasha Lauren Brown was born Charles Nicolas James Corcoran, but changed her name in 2011.
The 20-year-old, of Hanley, had also planned to undergo hormone therapy after making the decision to live and dress as a woman.
But the gifted Staffordshire University photography student descended into depression after suffering taunts, and was once knocked unconscious by a thug in a random attack.
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An inquest into her death yesterday heard how Natasha, known to friends as Tash, had a history of harming herself after suffering mental health problems throughout her teenage years.
She died on May 14 of liver failure, four days after taking an overdose of co-codamol tablets.
North Staffordshire Deputy Coroner Anthony Curzon recorded a verdict of accidental death after deciding he could not be sure Natasha intended to take her own life.
Now her family are calling for a better understanding of transgender issues and believe their daughter could have been saved if her problems had been identified sooner.
The inquest heard how Natasha had come into contact with various mental health professionals, and the family raised concerns about finding women's clothes and beauty products in their home.
But their concerns were apparently ignored.
Natasha's mother Sheelagh Corcoran said: "Natasha – as Charles – was first in hospital at 15 years old.
"I spoke to a psychologist and said I had found some items of women's underwear and make-up in his room.
"We had to go to meetings and they always told us about the dozens of questionnaires and assessments they had done on Charles. But they never said anything about any gender issues.How could they miss something so fundamental?"
On the day of her overdose, Natasha was discovered in bed by her girlfriend Susan Latham, surrounded by empty tablet containers at the house they shared in Regent Road, Hanley.
Susan called an ambulance and Natasha was treated at the former City General hospital in Hartshill, before being transferred to a specialist unit at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where she deteriorated and later died.
Coroner Mr Curzon said her death had resulted from liver failure due to paracetamol overdose, gender dysmorphia, depression and personality disorder.
He added: "This is a very, very sad case. Perhaps one of the saddest I've come across.
"We have a young lady who was clearly very disturbed for some time."
Speaking after the hearing, Mrs Corcoran said: "We'd just like to say we strongly believe the mental health services could have done more to help her than they did."
Fiona Wood, a friend of Natasha's who advised students on gender issues while president of Staffordshire University's students union, said: "Some people just don't understand the issue and how society can turn against the individual."