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Charity boss Carol Pickup from Maidstone had a massive heart for helping people, inquest hears

A Maidstone mum who devoted her life to helping the homeless was a huge part of the community, an inquest into her death has heard.

Carol Pickup, who was found dead in her garage by her 14-year-old son’s friend, was described by friends as a “huge part of the community, with a massive heart for helping people,” hanged herself the day before a visit from a mental health crisis team.

Carol Pickup
Carol Pickup

She ran the Don Doel Foundation, a charity providing food and essential supplies to Maidstone’s rough sleepers.

An inquest at Archbishop’s Palace last week heard the 41-year-old’s body was discovered on May 8, at her home in Buckland Road, Maidstone.

Her 14-year-old son Ronnie had returned home at around 9pm but was alarmed when he couldn’t find his mum.

The coroner heard he left a note, then went out to search for her with his friend and neighbour, Ross.

Carol was known for setting up the Don Doel Foundation in Maidstone
Carol was known for setting up the Don Doel Foundation in Maidstone

The pair left the house but, when she couldn’t be found, Ross went back and decided to search the garage where he made the tragic discovery.

He got his dad, Martin Malone, and Ross started CPR until paramedics arrived.

Police had been called the day before with concerns for Ms Pickup’s welfare. She told the operator she had no intention of harming herself and was in regular contact with the mental health charity Mind.

Ms Pickup had a long history of depression and anxiety. She first reached out for help in 2010 after her marriage broke down and she tried to overdose.

In 2018 she was prescribed medication and began counselling. She was also under the care of Maidstone Community Mental Health Team.

Her inquest was held at Archbishop's Palace, Maidstone
Her inquest was held at Archbishop's Palace, Maidstone

A month before her death she had suicidal thoughts and took herself to A&E.

On May 1 she was found in an alleyway, having overdosed, and was referred to the crisis team after being discharged from Maidstone Hospital.

On the day of her death Ms Pickup was again referred to the crisis team after telling her therapist she wanted to buy rat poison.

The team called her but there was no answer. Tragically she had already passed away when they tried to visit her at home the following day.

Recording Ms Pickup’s death as suicide, coroner Katrina Hepburn said: “This is a very sad case where the crisis team made attempts but could not help her.”

For confidential support on an emotional issue, call Samaritans on 116 123 at any time.

For more information on why we cover inquests, click here.

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