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Death of Jackie Folks from Maidstone was 'misadventure'

When the parents of Jacqueline (Jackie) Folks arrived in Maidstone from London to take her out to lunch, they couldn't get any answer from her phone or by text.

They asked staff at the temporary accommodation where she had been staying in London Road to fetch her, but it was then that Miss Folks was found slumped on the floor behind the bathroom door of her apartment, an inquest heard.

A post mortem determined that death was due to asphyxiation and there were ligature marks on her neck.

Miss Folks had spent time as a voluntary patient in Priority House mental care unit
Miss Folks had spent time as a voluntary patient in Priority House mental care unit

Coroner Geoffrey Smith heard that Miss Folks, 37, had suffered mental health issues from a very young age. In 2007, she underwent gender reassignment surgery, but her troubles continued with bouts of depression, anxiety, and sometimes alcohol dependence.

In the last few months of her life, her depression had been worsened by the break up of a long-term relationship which had resulted in her been thrown out of the house she shared with her boyfriend and being made homeless.

Her worries over finding accommodation had led her to make several attempts at ending her life and threats to end her life, and she was under the care of the Kent and Medway NHS Social Care Partnership Trust and had spent some time in Upnor Ward in Priority House in Maidstone.

At the time of her death on Monday, April 15, she had been found temporary accommodation by Maidstone council and was taking anti-depressants prescribed for her.

"It is clear Jackie suffered demons from early on in life..." Coroner Geoffrey Smith

When community psychiatric nurse John French last saw her on April 5, he said she had shown a "significant improvement" since a month before.

The coroner expressed his condolences to parents Oswald and Margaret Folks. Mr Smith said: "It is clear Jackie suffered demons from early on in life.

"She had a great deal of interaction with the mental health services, part of which was due to her gender identity issues."

With no evidence of any third party involvement, Mr Smith concluded that Miss Folks had taken her own life.

However he gave a finding of misadventure rather than suicide, because he could not be certain that Miss Folks had actually intended to take her life.

She had made many failed attempts to do so before, and had so frequently suggested that she would commit suicide but had not actually done so and the coroner suggested this last act might have been a cry for help that went tragically wrong.

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

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