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Gemma Arterton grandmother killed herself: inquest

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Gemma Arterton
Gemma Arterton

by Jenni Horn


The grandmother of movie actress Gemma Arterton took her own life, an inquest has heard.

Helen Sarfas, 69, was discovered fatally injured at her home in Beechings Way, Gillingham in January this year.

She had stabbed herself in the heart with a knife while lying in bed.

Her body was found by her husband Rodney Peacock who gave evidence at the hearing in Maidstone.

He said: "I had gone to make a cup of tea. I came back into the bedroom to ask her if she wanted a cup and when she didn't answer me I pulled the covers back and saw the knife."

Mr Peacock was initially questioned by police but was later released without charge when it became clear Mrs Sarfas's wound was self-inflicted.

The court heard how Mrs Sarfas had been suffering from depression for some time and had been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder.

She had arthritis of the spine which Mr Peacock said caused her immense pain and this was thought to be a contributory factor to her depression.

Mrs Sarfas was under the care of a psychiatric doctor and received regular visits from a community mental health nurse.

She had been prescribed anti-depressants but her daughter Sarah Heap told the court her mother had been desperate to be prescribed more to cope with her low moods.

She added: "In the weeks leading up to my mother's death she told me she was having suicidal thoughts."

Coroner Roger Sykes recorded a verdict of suicide.

He said: "I have reached the conclusion that she took her own life while suffering from bi-polar disorder, depression and physical pain."

Movie star Gemma Arterton, who was born in Gravesend, was said to be distraught following her grandmother's death.

A source close to the family told the Kent Messenger at the time: "Everyone's incredibly shocked and upset.

"Gemma absolutely adored her and would see her whenever she could.

"She was close to her nan, who followed all her shows through drama school and was very proud and supportive.

"Helen was a lovely and kind woman."

Following the inquest, Mrs Sarfas's daughter Sarah said: "It is a private family matter, we will not be making a statement."

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