Hidden credit card debt led to mum tragedy
A MOTHER killed herself on the day she thought bailiffs were coming to repossess her home, an inquest heard.
Tina Bennett, aged 40, was found by her son Anthony, and husband Michael, at the family home in Kidbrooke Place, Blurton, on May 11 this year.
She had hanged herself using the cord from two dressing gowns, tied together.
Yesterday an inquest heard that Mrs Bennett, a vending machine operator, had no history of depression or mental illness, nor was there any sign that she was feeling suicidal.
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However, letters that were only discovered after her death, showed Mrs Bennett had a hidden credit card debt of £8,500 in her husband's name.
And among a package of letters only one had been opened, which was threatening to repossess Mrs Bennett's home, at 4pm on the day she died.
Mr Bennett told the inquest: "I had been speaking to her throughout the day.
"My last contact with her was about 3.25pm, nothing was said that was out of the ordinary. When I got home the front and back door were locked.
"I got no answer at the door. I assumed she was asleep.
"I called Anthony we got a ladder. We couldn't see her, but the keys were on the table. I was really worried at this point.
"We broke the window, Anthony was in front of me. He saw his mum.
"She was at the top of the stairs. I couldn't leave her there, I had to take her downstairs."
The cause of death was found to be hanging.
Later, when Mr Bennett was searching for a ring formerly owned by his wife's mother, which he was going to return to her family, he discovered the letters.
He said: "I lifted the mattress and found lots of letters, all unopened, apart from one.
"It was a notice for repossession of the house on that day (May 11), at 4pm, that the bailiffs were coming at that time. It was a scary letter.
"I had no idea of this. All the other letters were court hearings for me to turn up and I didn't know anything about them.
"Any letter with my name on it was there, unopened."
Mr Bennett opened all the letters in the presence of a police officer. He was able to resolve the credit card debt without losing the house.
He added: "If only she had spoken to me. I would rather lose the house and keep her. There was no reason for us to be in that situation.
"We had the best relationship. Even driving along we would hold hands."
Recording a verdict of suicide, North Staffordshire Coroner Ian Smith said: "If only we could turn the clock back. It is so sad. The inability to confront a problem which then grew out of all proportion.
"I'm quite sure she intended to take her life. Tragically, it was so unnecessary.
"A problem which could have been resolved without any major difficulties."