A British Red Cross worker honoured for her efforts helping victims of the Grenfell Tower fire was found hanged hours after sending a text saying ‘my job on this earth is done’, an inquest has heard. Dr Deborah Lamont, 44, a team leader with the humanitarian charity, was awarded the Henry Dunant Medal, the organisation’s highest honour, after joining the emergency response team to the disaster in 2017. However, the university lecturer had also struggled with depression and anxiety which were said to have worsened in the wake of her divorce. She was found dead on March 28 in her hotel room in Cardiff after concerns were raised about her welfare from Red Cross colleague Jim Rees who had been in a relationship with her. He told South Wales Central Coroner’s Court he had received a string of worrying text messages from her on the afternoon before her death.
Dr Lamont was said to have struggled with depression and anxiety (Picture: Athena Pictures)
The inquest heard they included ‘at the moment life is overwhelming’, ‘I think my life should end so the pain will stop’, ‘now I think my job on this earth is done’ and finally ‘it’s my time’. Mr Rees said: ‘I rang her. I was trying to say to her that she might be feeling bad now but those feelings would pass, that she had a lot to offer and people were relying on her and needed her.’ Police went to her room at 6.15pm and saw that she had tried to hang herself. They could smell alcohol and saw a bottle of Prosecco, but her mood improved ‘considerably’ after 10 minutes. PC Barry Simpson said he did not believe he had the power to section Dr Lamont under the mental health act. She was left on her own at 8pm after talking to mental health workers over the phone but was dead by 11.30pm.
Dr Lamont was awarded the Red Cross’ highest honour (Picture: Athena Pictures)
Paramedic Olivia Horrigan said she ‘wasn’t happy’ about leaving Dr Lamont alone in the hotel room but said there were no signs of an immediate risk after she began showing remorse for her actions. Lynda Lane, Dr Lamont’s mother, said her daughter’s mental health had deteriorated further following the end of her five-year marriage in 2006. Dr Lamont caught a train to London from her home in Dinas Powys the morning of the Grenfell disaster to go and help. She joined scores of other Red Cross workers helping the emergency services to co-ordinate a rescue centre for those affected. She told Wales Online during an interview in April 2018 about receiving the award: ‘Nothing can prepare you for what you face there.
Within hours of the inferno breaking out Dr Lamont was on her way to London to help with the relief effort (Picture: AFP via Getty Images)
‘The atmosphere was heavy in the aftermath of the fire and a lot of the time the area was still dark with smoke. ‘The media were everywhere and people were exhausted, angry, grief-stricken and lost, and you’re trying to get them help, listen to them and calm them down. ‘It was emotionally challenging for me but I was grateful for the opportunity to help them and I am not likely to forget the scenes I saw but I would volunteer again in a heartbeat because that’s the reason I joined up.’
The inquest into her death continues.
source : metro.co.uk