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Self-harmer Toyah Steward hangs herself in South Ashford bedroom as mum Simone Steward asks why she wasn't sectioned

A mum whose daughter hanged herself in her bedroom has asked why the young woman was not ‘sectioned’ when she was rushed to hospital after self-harming.

Nineteen-year-old Toyah Steward was found dead by her landlord when he went to ask her to turn her music down just after 3am on June 21 last year.

Mum Simone Steward, who lived next door to her daughter in Boxley, South Ashford, described her daughter’s battle with depression.

The William Harvey Hospital in Ashford
The William Harvey Hospital in Ashford

Speaking at an inquest in Folkestone, she said: “She was up and down. She did suffer with depression but she was one of those happy-go-lucky people.

“I want to know why she wasn’t sectioned. She was rushed to hospital by ambulance and they had to call security because she had a razor blade in her mouth.

“I thought she was overcoming it because last time she took pills she came to me. I said: ‘I’ll take you up the hospital but you won’t be coming back with me.’ She said she didn’t want that. She wanted help from the family.

“I don’t think it was a serious attempt on her life.

“I think it was a cry for help that went wrong.”

Mrs Steward said she and her daughter had “a few words” in the days leading up to her death.

At 11.45pm on the night before Toyah died Mrs Steward heard loud music coming from her daughter’s room in the neighbouring house.

When it was still “pumping” at 3am Mrs Steward sent a text message to the homeowner Ian Thomson, asking him to tell his tenant to “have some respect for others”.

When Mr Thomson entered Toyah’s room to relay the message he made the grim discovery.

Mental health nurse Simon Nicholls saw Toyah the morning after she took an overdose in May 2012.

He said: “Toyah was using self-harm as a way of regulating her emotions rather than wanting to die.

The William Harvey Hospital sign
The William Harvey Hospital sign

“There’s a difference between self harm and suicide. Self harm is about wanting to stay alive. She said she took the overdose because she couldn’t find anything to cut herself with.

“She didn’t meet the criteria for a mental health assessment. I’m surprised by what’s happened to her. She struck me as someone who wanted to sort herself out.”

Mr Nicholls gave Toyah leaflets offering advice for people who self harm and their families and offered her counselling.

She was later given anti-depressant medication by her GP.

Pathologist Dr Kareem Aboualfa said Miss Steward had no drugs or alcohol in her system when she died from suspension.

Coroner Rachel Redman said she was satisfied Toyah did not meet the requirements for a mental health assessment.

Mrs Redman said she could not be certain Toyah had intended to take her own life the night she died and recorded an open verdict.

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