ANTIDEPRESSANT & ALCOHOL: Suicide: British Judo Star Tipped for Olympics: UK

NOTE FROM Ann Blake-Tracy (


Antidepressants cause this alcohol craving in several ways:

– by dropping the blood sugar
– by producing mania, one type of mania is known as “dipsomania” which is described as an “uncontrollable urge to drink alcohol”
– by increasing serotonin which has been shown in medical research to cause cravings for alcohol (see SSRIs & Alcoho at

Paragraph four reads: “But an inquest heard he had secretly been battling depression after splitting with the mother of his daughter – and in the early hours of New Year’s Day he was found dead in his home in Mold, North Wales.”

Paragraph thirteen reads: “When their relationship broke down, he moved back into his family home where he began a course of anti-depressant drugs.”

Paragraph twenty reads: “Toxicology results showed he was more than three times the drink-drive limit. . . ”

Monday, Apr 19 2010 3PM

British judo star tipped for Olympic glory hangs himself with own black belt after breaking up with girlfriend
By Daily Mail Reporter

Last updated at 1:39 PM on 19th April 2010

A British judo star tipped for success at the 2012 Olympics hanged himself with his own black belt after struggling to get over splitting from his girlfriend, an inquest heard.

Firefighter Robert ‘Robbie’ Gallagher, 23, was so talented in martial arts he was listed as one of the amateur sportsmen expected to shine during the London Olympics.

He was known across the Judo world for fighting in the 66kg weight category and was one of Britain’s top judo players in 2005, when he was in the British junior squad.

But an inquest heard he had secretly been battling depression after splitting with the mother of his daughter – and in the early hours of New Year’s Day he was found dead in his home in Mold, North Wales.

His father Robert Gallagher Snr, said: ‘We as a family are so saddened by Robbie’s untimely death and we miss him greatly.

‘He was into his judo and was a contender for the 2012 Olympic games and was a retained firefighter, hoping to have a future full-time in firefighting.

‘He had been a mischievous happy person and enjoyed his life. He wanted to achieve the very best.’

Mr Gallagher started judo when he was five before later taking up the sport at the highest level.

He was British judo champion three times and represented North Wales Fire and Rescue Service at the 2008 World Firefighting Games at the Echo Arena, Liverpool.

A British Judo Association spokeswoman said after his death: ‘British judo is extremely saddened by the loss of Robbie Gallagher.

‘A talented judo player, Robbie will be missed by players and coaches alike.’

An inquest heard last Friday how Robbie had been with girlfriend Sophie Bell-Halfpenny for four years, and together they shared a home and daughter Evie.

When their relationship broke down, he moved back into his family home where he began a course of anti-depressant drugs.

Miss Bell-Halfpenny told the hearing her former partner had threatened suicide on several occasions, explaining: ‘He once phoned me at 4am to say he had taken an overdose of sleeping tablets.

‘Then he came up to my house and and was waving his judo belts at me saying he was going to take his own life.’

The inquest in Mold heard how the judo ace had gone to a pub on New Year’s Eve to see in 2010 with some friends but had then gone back home to hang himself.

His father said he did not realise his son had returned home early until he went to have a cigarette outside shortly after midnight, and heard a noise from their garage.

He stepped inside and made the horrific discovery of his son hanging by his own judo belt.

A post-mortem examination revealed the father-of-one had died from asphyxia caused by hanging.

Toxicology results showed he was more than three times the drink-drive limit. He did not leave a note.

Recording a verdict of suicide, North East Wales coroner John Hughes, told the family: ‘I want to tell you how desperately sad I was to hear of your misfortune, especially as it was someone as young as your boy.’

After hearing of his death last January, a spokesman for his former school, Alun School, said: ‘We are very sad to hear this news.

‘He was a very outgoing character who was well liked by all the staff. He always had a big smile on his face.

‘We remember him fondly as a very fit lad, he could turn his hand to anything, but judo was his sport.

‘Robbie was one of the most gifted athletes we had at the school. He excelled at judo and represented Wales and the UK.

‘He was an excellent judo player and at one time he was in the top group for his age.’

ANTIDEPRESSANTS: 26 Year Old Teacher Hangs Herself: England

Paragraph 22 reads:  “The inquest heard the teacher had
attempted suicide in 2000 and complained of work-related stress in November
2006, before seeing her GP for depression in early 2007. She then began taking anti-depressants.”

Young teacher, 26, hanged herself after being accused of helping pupils
cheat in GCSEs

By James

Last updated at 8:31 PM on 27th November 2009

A teacher suspended over claims she helped pupils cheat in their GCSE exams hanged
herself – only to be exonerated after her death.

Vanessa Rann was
distraught after being accused of giving children unfair help during their
French oral examination.

She was sent home on full pay while an
investigation into the allegations was carried out, with pupils facing the
prospect of having their final grades changed.

Investigation: Miss Rann
worked at Grange School and Sports College, Warmley

But days later, the
French-born trainee teacher‘s body was found by her fiance at the home they
shared. She was 26.

Yesterday an inquest into her death revealed the
investigation went on to clear her of any wrongdoing.

Only in her first
year of teaching, Miss Rann was apparently already a much-loved member of staff
at Grange School and Sports College in Warmley, Bristol.

But she was
struggling with the stress of her job and believed her head of department,
Francesca Alcock, was trying to ‘force her out’, the hearing was told.

In May 2007, she was accused of giving unfair help to students taking
their GCSE French oral and suspended.

In a statement read to Flax
Bourton Coroner’s Court, headteacher Steve Cook said she was also being
investigated for inviting Year 11 pupils to an end-of-term party at her house as
well as accusing Miss Alcock of ‘trying to get her sacked’.

She met her
union representative, Paul Hutchins, who told the hearing she was ‘distressed’
by the allegations but had told him she ‘hadn’t done anything wrong’.

added: ‘We talked about whether she wanted to continue teaching and she said she
loved it, had a good relationship with the children and had made friends at the

‘She said she found her position at the school challenging. She
wanted to continue, but possibly at a different school.’

Mr Hutchins
said Miss Rann was also under pressure because she had failed a teaching

But he said: ‘At the time she gave me no cause for concern.
She had a tremendous support network by her.’

Her fiance, Darren Proud,
found her body in their garage in Fishponds, Bristol, on the morning of June 3,

Exam board Edexcel later ruled pupils had not unfairly benefited
during the exams and there was no need to adjust the final marks.

Proud told the hearing his fiancee had suffered depression before, but that
‘things went wrong’ following her suspension.

He added she had mentioned
hanging herself in the past, prompting him to urge her to seek medical

‘I thought it was just a silly comment and told her she shouldn’t
be thinking about stuff like that,’ he said.

‘I didn’t expect her to do
something like this because she was pretty strong, even though she would be down
sometimes. All day she had been happy, so it came as a shock.’

inquest heard the teacher had attempted suicide in 2000 and complained of
work-related stress in November 2006, before seeing her GP for depression in
early 2007. She then began taking anti-depressants.

Recording a verdict
of suicide, Avon coroner Terence Moore said: ‘She was going through extremely
stressful circumstances and in her view her career wasn’t steady.

did all the right things – she went to see her union rep and went to see her
doctor. Putting all the things together, I’m sure beyond reasonable doubt she
took her own life.’

ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Woman Commits Suicide: England

Paragraph 28 reads;  “Mrs Davis received counselling
and was on anti-depressants,’ he said. ‘Mr Davies said
their marriage had been blissfully happy and he thought the financial problems
had been settled.”

Husband blames Lloyds for wife’s suicide after bank pulls family firm’s

Last updated at 3:05 PM on 27th October 2009

husband has claimed Lloyds bank was partly to blame for his wife’s suicide after
it suddenly pulled their overdraft.

Mark Davis says the bank’s actions
helped drive his wife Victoria to throw herself in front of a train earlier this

An inquest into her death heard a £16,000 tax demand was also
hand-delivered to the family home on the morning of her suicide.

hearing was told Mrs Davis had battled to juggle her job as company secretary
for the family firm and coping with its debts with being a mother to two young

‘Blissfully happy’: Mark and Victoria Davis. He claims
Lloyds bank was partially to blame for her suicide because it pulled their

Her husband, from whom she kept secret the extent of the
family’s chauffeur business’s woe, insisted Lloyds TSB was also partly to

After the inquest, he told how they had been with the bank for
years and had always had the loan renewed on a yearly basis.

This was
suddenly changed to monthly renewals and then finally withdrawn, cutting adrift
the family chauffeur car business which then went bust, he claimed.

did everything they asked us to do and then they moved the goal posts and kept
moving them. I am extremely bitter about it,’ Mr Davis said.

‘Lloyds bank
holds some of the responsibility for her death. We banked with Lloyds for many
years and had a very successful business. But at the beginning of this year,
they were themselves in serious financial difficulties.

‘We had an
extremely large overdraft of £30,000 which was secured on our house and other
guarantees. Previously it had been renewed annually but suddenly it was only
renewed monthly and then it was pulled completely.

‘How can we run a
business on that basis? I had a letter from the bank yesterday saying they were
still holding a personal guarantee of mine and they wanted it paid.

my company has now gone into liquidation and as far as I can, I shall make sure
that Lloyds don’t get a penny.’

Mrs Davis committed suicide on railway
tracks near the couple’s home in Chalford, near Stroud in Gloucestershire in

After her death, some 4,000 letters she had hidden away were found.
Ironically, many contained payments from customers that would have eased their
financial problems.

Following the inquest jury’s verdict of suicide, her
husband said he could not understand why she had kept the extent of their debts
from him.

He said: ‘She must have been frightened to tell me because I
can be a bit fiery but she was a very intelligent woman and after what we had
been through, I can’t believe she kept it all from me.’

The inquest in
Cheltenham heard that Mrs Davis had struggled to cope with handling the
company’s debts with being a mother to their two children, aged six and

Mr Davis said she was a ‘fantastic woman‘ and wonderful mother.

‘We went through a low point but we got through it with the help of
counselling and I thought we had come out the other side. I clearly missed
something. Nothing was as important as us and our family,’  he

The inquest heard Mrs Davis went and knelt in front of a train on
May 13 after receiving the tax demand.

Train driver Ian Green told how he
sounded his horn when he spotted someone on the track and that at first, she had
stepped out of harm’s way.

‘As I approached the first short tunnel around
a bend at about 50 miles an hour, I saw a person standing near the line at the
far end. There was work taking place on the line that day so I was not alarmed,’
he said.

‘I immediately sound a double horn warning and the person
stepped back from the line. But as the train drew closer she stepped forward and
knelt down on the line facing away from me. I applied the brakes but there was
nothing I could do to avoid her.’

An Audi belonging to Mr and Mrs Davis
was found parked in a lay-by nearby. The inquest heard there was a three-page
debt management letter on the front seat referring to the unpaid tax bill.

The family firm, Chauffeurwise Ltd, had succeeded at first but had to
sell half its fleet of eight cars when trade slowed, the hearing was told.

By 2008, it was in ‘deep financial trouble’, John Wilson from the
British Transport Police said.

‘Mrs Davis received counselling and was
on anti-depressants,’ he said. ‘Mr Davies said their marriage had been
blissfully happy and he thought the financial problems had been

‘But since her death 4,000 letters have been found which had
been secreted around the house, and many contained cheques from customers which
had they been cashed would have helped the company’s situation.’

inquest heard the Inland Revenue had contacted Mrs Davis several times about the
outstanding debts and that even on the morning of her death, she had not shown
signs of unusual behaviour on the phone.

Her GP Dr Susie Weir said her
health had been generally good until 2006 when she gave her anti-depressants
because she was struggling to cope with working full time and caring for her
young children.

She saw her again in March 2009 and said she did not
remember her being stressed or in a low mood but that she was back on
anti-depressants at that

ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Murder: Mother Kills 11 Year Old Son: Attempts to Kill…

NOTE FROM Ann Blake-Tracy:

Money and the economy is certainly a serious problem in our
society that needs to be addressed, but it should also be noted that patients
have reported for years that starting an antidepressant has killed any hope they
had for the future, no matter the problem.
Fourth paragraph from the end reads:  “Taylor, who did
not have a job, confided her money woes to her sister and close friends, who
became worried about her mental state and insisted she visited
r GP who prescribed her antidepressants and
sleeping pills.”

Mother who drowned grammar schoolboy son, 11, in the bath over £290,000
debts is locked up indefinitely

By Arthur

Last updated at 7:21 PM on 02nd October 2009
  • Mother ‘was bitten by son on finger during struggle’
Tragic: James Taylor was drowned in the bath by his mother Jennifer in
December 2008. She has been detained indefinitely under the Mental Health

A mother drugged and drowned her 11yearold son in despair after
running up debts of £290,000, a court heard yesterday.

Jennifer Taylor
was detained indefinitely under the Mental Health Act for killing James at their
home last December.

Taylor, 45, became severely depressed when her son‘s
absent father stopped sending her money to pay for James’s upbringing and
private school fees.

She had also accrued debts through credit cards and
mortgage arrears and was being harassed by creditors, the court heard.

After killing her son, she spent the next two days lying next to his
body before she stabbed herself and took an overdose.

Taylor then called
the emergency services and told the operator what she had done.

was found in the bath with his head submerged in the water at the family home in
New Ash Green, near Dartford in Kent.

They found Taylor in the
conservatory in bloodstained clothes. She

had stab wounds on her thighs,
breasts, wrists and arms and was white, cold and weak, the court heard.

Sentencing her at Maidstone Crown Court, Judge Andrew Patience QC
described the case as an ‘appalling human tragedy’ in which ‘the life of a
happy, bright, talented boy was wasted’.

The judge said: ‘She was
socially isolated, felt let down by others, weighed down by debt.

is no question but that she adored her son and had tried to do her best for him
but had got deeply into debt in her efforts to do so.

‘The financial
pressures upon her became intense and she developed an intense depressive
illness in the months leading up to the killing.’

He said the illness
‘led her to the belief that there was no solution to their problems other than

to take James’s life and kill herself’.

Taylor denied murdering her son
at a hearing in March, but later admitted to manslaughter on the grounds of
diminished responsibility. When arrested she said she had wanted the two of them
to die so they could ‘be in a better place’.

The court heard that both
her parents were dead and she had little support. James had never met his
father, Mohammed Al-Rafaey, described as a successful Syrian national who lived
in Abu Dhabi. Taylor had a brief relationship with him in the 1990s.

James was a pupil at Steephill,  a private primary school in
Fawkham, Kent, before he joined a nearby grammar school

He initially
sent her £1,000 a month in child maintenance and paid for James’s private school
fees but at the time of the boy’s death Taylor had only £360 available in her
current account.

She had to twice re-mortgage the house Al-Rafaey had
bought for her, had six credit cards and said creditors were constantly ringing
her. In May 2008 she begged Mr Al-Rafaey for more money and he agreed to

transfer 25,000 U.S. dollars into her account on condition she never asked for
any more.

But soon afterwards she asked for a lump sum to cover James’s
school fees for the next seven years, which he refused.

Taylor, who did
not have a job, confided her money woes to her sister and close friends, who
became worried about her mental state and insisted she visited her GP who
prescribed her antidepressants and sleeping pills.

When computer experts
looked at her internet activity in the months before James’s death they found
searches referring to ‘suicide through debt’, ‘taking a child through suicide’
and ‘drowning as my heart keeps pounding’. James was a pupil at Wilmington
Grammar School near Dartford, after being withdrawn from Steephill, a
£2,245-a-term private primary in the Kent village of Fawkham.

Tapp, director of debt charity Credit Action, said he believed society needed to

change its attitude towards money to prevent such cases happening again.

He said: ‘This is an absolutely tragic case, but what it does indicate
is the impact that financial debt and worries can have on

ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Businessman Shoots Self Weeks Before Wedding: England

NOTE BY Ann Blake-Tracy ( PLEASE notice all of the strong warnings of serious reactions to antidepressants noted in this one short paragraph and keep in mind the FDA warning that any abrupt change in dose of an antidepressant can produce suicide, hostility or psychosis. Starting or stopping an antidepressant are two of the most dangerous periods of use of one of these drugs. Obviously once again this man or anyone close to this man had been given that warning.
Paragraph 13 reads:  “In the weeks leading up to his death, he wouldn’t eat properly or get out of bed, and was ignoring his Blackberry as every call seemed to bring more bad news from creditors. When my dad asked him at a family lunch if he had paid for the wedding cars, he hadn’t. He couldn’t afford to even put them on a credit card. I knew then that there was a real problem but he refused to discuss it with me. He told me that he’d been prescribed a course of antidepressants, and I suggested he see a counsellor, but he was dismissive.”

My fiancé committed suicide weeks before our wedding after credit crunch caused collapse of his firm

By Abigail King

Last updated at 8:37 PM on 22nd August 2009

Abigail King was making final preparations for her wedding
when her fiancé Mark went missing. Although she was aware that his property business was failing in the credit crunch, she had no idea of the extent of his desperation

‘It was starting my own company that saved my life,’ says Abigail King

On a sunny morning in April 2008 I got up early. My fiancé Mark Sebire and I were getting married in five weeks’ time and I wanted to sort out the final arrangements for our wedding. I dressed up to go for a girls’ lunch and when I came downstairs, Mark hugged me and told me he loved me. As I left the house he was watching GMTV on the sofa, eating cereal.

That was the last time I saw him alive. The next day I had to identify his body at the mortuary.

To the outside world, Mark had everything to live for. He was a handsome 36-year-old property developer, popular with his friends. We were deeply in love, about to get married and shared a £1.7 million London house that Mark had bought for us to renovate.

But behind the scenes I knew that he was depressed. His business was collapsing. He had a huge portfolio of London properties once worth millions on paper but, with the credit crunch looming, he was unable to sell them. He was mortgaged to the hilt and facing financial ruin. I kept telling him that, as long as we were together, we would survive. But I didn’t realise how desperate he was not to lose what he’d built up. He put extraordinary pressure on himself to create an amazing life for us, and I believe it was that pressure that killed him.

Immediately after I left the house that April morning, Mark took a taxi to an isolated spot
and shot himself. In a letter he left for the coroner, he wrote: ‘I took my own life due to extreme financial pressure, and my poor fiancée would have been liable for my debts if we had got married. It is no one’s fault but my own.’

Mark Sebire with his beloved cocker spaniel Iggy

He could see his world falling apart and couldn’t cope with starting again. His pride wouldn’t let him admit that he was in trouble, and he didn’t know how to reach out for help.

Mark and I had met on a blind date in 2005, and from the beginning our relationship just seemed to make sense. My parents had separated when I was eight, then, when I was 14, my mother died of leukaemia at only 42; a year later my older sister Louise had a horrific car crash at 19, suffering brain injuries from which she has struggled to recover. I had always had a fear of abandonment – a fear that the people I loved were not going to stick around. Mark seemed so strong and, instinctively, I felt protected. After six months, I sold my flat and we moved into his house in Wandsworth together.

Mark had high expectations of our life together. He wanted us to be living in the country in a big house, and had the future all mapped out. He talked me into leaving my job as a letting agent as he saw it as his obligation to take care of me. He loved me running the home, and I focused on becoming the perfect housewife.

He proposed in March 2007 and we spent the months after our engagement staying on friends’ sofas while we renovated Mark’s house. It was still unfinished when we moved back in the middle of winter. We were living in one room and there was no heating or electricity. I thought, if we can get through this, we can get through anything. But at the start of the new year the fight seemed to go out of him. When Iggy, our beloved cocker spaniel, died in January, Mark was inconsolable. From that day it was as though the man I loved had disappeared. Instead of being focused, driven and full of ideas for the future, he seemed secretive and distant, and looked haunted.

In the weeks leading up to his death, he wouldn’t eat properly or get out of bed, and was ignoring his Blackberry as every call seemed to bring more bad news from creditors. When my dad asked him at a family lunch if he had paid for the wedding cars, he hadn’t. He couldn’t afford to even put them on a credit card. I knew then that there was a real problem but he refused to discuss it with me. He told me that he’d been prescribed a course of antidepressants, and I suggested he see a counsellor, but he was dismissive.

Mark put extraordinary pressure on himself to create an amazing life for us, and it was that pressure that killed him

For months we had been planning to start a family. Suddenly in February he said that we should stop trying. When I asked him why, he just kept repeating, ‘It’s not a good time’. He had stopped going into the office, and after his death I discovered his work diary. At the beginning of the year it was packed with appointments but as the weeks went on, it became almost empty. One unbearably sad entry on his to-do list just read: go for a walk. It seemed so lonely.

A week before he died, I had the final fitting for my wedding dress. Mark knew I had been exercising and dieting and was really nervous that I wouldn’t get into it, but he showed no interest. I found out later that while I was having the fitting, he was registering me as his next of kin.

Even though the day he died started normally enough, that morning I had a sense of unease. But I didn’t start panicking until I realised his mobile was switched off – that was so unlike him. Unable to get hold of him, I rang all his friends but no one had heard from him. Then he failed to turn up at an afternoon meeting. His best friend Giles came over and we rang everyone who knew him. Finally, in the evening, I rang the police, but they told me they couldn’t file a report until he had been missing for 12 hours.

Abigail and Mark on holiday together in Portugal and the Maldives in 2007

When two uniformed policemen knocked on the door at 1am, I just felt a sense of relief that they had come to register him as missing. Then I saw his business partner Justin standing behind them. He was ashen. They told me that the body of a man had been found at Bisley shooting range in Surrey with a driving licence registered to Mark.

It was completely disorientating. The room where we had been laughing together just hours earlier was now a dark place where people were clinging to each other.

As the news spread, friends and family started arriving at the house. My stepmother Rosemary drove down from Gloucestershire. I remember at about 4am someone telling me to go upstairs and rest, but lying on our bed was unbearable. Everything was as Mark had left it the previous morning and the sheets still smelt of him. The police also told me that he had registered me as his next of kin, which meant that I would have to identify him.

The following day, in a state of shock, I drove 50 miles to see Mark’s mother and then another 50 to his father (they are divorced), to tell them that their son was dead. Then I went to identify his body. When I got to the police station, I was taken to a small waiting room. Two officers came in and took some papers out of a brown envelope. They were the suicide notes Mark had left. When they were put in front of me, I knew he had really gone.

He could see his world falling apart and couldn’t cope with starting again

He turned out to have made careful plans. In the week before his suicide he arranged to meet friends he hadn’t seen for months, as if saying goodbye to them, and some of the letters were dated as much as three weeks earlier. In one addressed to me, he wrote simply: ‘My darling Aby. What can I tell you that you don’t know already? I’m sorry. M.’

It appears that he wrote all the other notes first and left mine until last. It was almost as though he had written it so many times in his head that he couldn’t write it on the page, and it ended up being just one sentence.

Mark was buried in a country churchyard in Surrey, close to both his parents’ homes. On the morning of the funeral I drove out to Bisley shooting range. I felt I had to see the exact spot where he died. The instructors at the range showed me where his body had been found. I sat on the grassy verge in the spring sunshine and laid some roses on the spot. Then I drove to the funeral parlour and put Iggy’s ashes at his feet and a rose on his chest. He was being buried with love from me. That gave me huge comfort.

At the funeral there was a sense of bewilderment that someone so young should have died in this way. His family were on one side of the church and mine were on the other – just like at a wedding.

Our wedding day had been planned for 17 May. I had a gospel choir booked for the church in Gloucestershire, and 300 guests invited to a reception at a country house hotel with four live bands. My wedding dress alone cost £10,000. It was ridiculously grandiose, and incredibly expensive to cancel. My dad and stepmother stepped in and made all the calls. I now see how ludicrous it all was. I remember suggesting to Mark that we should do a low-key wedding, but he wanted the big affair. He was so proud of me.

At a fitting for her Vera Wang wedding dress and the invitation

On what would have been our wedding day, my stepmother Rosemary took me to Cyprus. She is like a second mother to me, and married my dad in 1997. At the time when we would have been saying our vows, I sat on the beach and looked up at the sky, visualising every moment. It was as if I could see it actually happening in a parallel universe.

Suicide is like a bomb exploding, because the person who dies leaves injured people all around them, suffering incredible pain and grief. You naturally look for someone to blame. Mentally I accused everyone – creditors, Mark’s friends, even my own family – for not supporting us both more. Then I blamed myself. I was tortured about why I hadn’t seen that he was in such a state of emotional crisis. But why hadn’t he told me how desperate he felt? I still can’t forgive him for not having faith in us. I was sure we could have made it through together.

His mother blamed me for not looking after him. Four months after the funeral she wrote me a letter in which she said she held me responsible for his death. I don’t judge her; she was in terrible pain. She said she did not want me around the family. We have not been in contact since.

My best friend, whom I have known for 25 years, also withdrew from me. Her brother
had invested heavily in Mark’s business and was hit hard when it collapsed. Even my own family have found his suicide difficult to deal with: today, Mark’s name is barely mentioned.

People are guilt-ridden over what they could have done to stop it, and no one likes to dwell on such negative emotion too long, so they push it away as quickly as possible. Only a handful of close girlfriends helped me through – ringing me when I was too unhappy to get out of bed, forcing me to go out for supper with them, convincing me that I wasn’t a bad person, that this was just a bad thing that had happened to me.

In the end it was starting my own company that saved my life. I had to move out of our home seven weeks after Mark died because his family wanted it back to sell it, so I moved into a rented studio flat in Fulham. The joint bank account was empty, and he left me with hefty debts that I am still trying to resolve.

But I was well trained by Mark to be a wife – organising builders, events and running a home – so why not be a wife for hire? I sold my engagement ring. It was a constant reminder of what had happened – and it was also the only valuable thing I owned. I bought a second-hand Volkswagen Polo with some of the money, and put the rest into a business called My Domestic Goddess – providing a home service that organises people’s lives while they are at work. I collected children from school, picked up parking permits, walked dogs.

Hard work got me on my feet again, and helped me through the rest of the year. As I gradually regained my emotional strength, it occurred to me that Mark wouldn’t have recognised me as the woman he had wanted to protect and provide for – but doing this for myself was an essential part of the grieving process, of helping me deal with the gap he had left.

Everything was as Mark had left it that morning and the sheets still smelt of him

At the beginning of this year, I started to see a Cruse bereavement therapist, to whom I am able to tell the dark thoughts that you can’t reveal to people you love because they would worry so much about you. And one of my first instincts was to get another dog. My new cocker spaniel Lily has brought joy back into my life. I know Mark would have adored her. When it’s a sunny day and I’m walking Lily in the park, I think, yes, I do forgive him. But, ultimately, there is no forgiveness because there is no real closure.

Today I have a new boyfriend, Tim. He’s 43 and is an incredible support, but it’s early days. I’m only 32 so maybe one day I will get married, but I am a very different person now to how I have been in previous relationships. I’m stronger, and I’m also more humble. The old Abigail was self-centred and ungrateful. I see her as a spoilt brat and I don’t recognise her now.

Now, just over a year on, I sometimes see in my mind’s eye how my life might have been – Mark and I walking hand in hand in the countryside with dogs running alongside us. Then I drive back alone to my small flat. It’s pointless to wallow in dreams – I have to look towards the future. I don’t know what it holds, and I like it that way. I have no expectations. Expectations are what killed Mark.