A heroine of the Grenfell Tower disaster killed herself two years after volunteering to help survivors, an inquest was told.
Dr Deborah Lamont, 44, won the Red Cross’s highest award for her work in the aftermath of the 2017 blaze which claimed the lives of 72 people. But an inquest heard she had battled alcohol and mental health problems since her teens and made previous suicide attempts.
Dr Lamont’s team at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff attended an event in March 2019 to congratulate them for their work. But the court heard the divorcee appeared “sullen” and told her new boyfriend and work colleague Jim Rees she felt “claustrophobic “ and needed get away. Dr Lamont booked into a hotel and sent text messages to Mr Rees saying: “Life is overwhelming. I feel like treating myself as badly as possible.”
Mr Rees told the hearing he gave her the Samaritans telephone number and called 999 after the texts “escalated” with one saying: “I think my job on this earth is done.” The messages included "I think my life should end so the pain will stop" and "it's my time". Police found Dr Lamont with a ligature around her neck in her room at the Village Hotel in Whitchurch, Cardiff. She told officers she had attempted suicide but it had gone wrong.
The inquest heard police were powerless to detain her under the Mental Health Act because she was not in a public place. The case was referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission and South Wales Police’s Professional Standards Department but no action was taken. The inquest in Pontypridd continues.