Belfast Telegraph

Inquest hears from mental health nurse whose visit had left tragic PhD student 'livid'

By Allan Preston

On the anniversary of the death of a former PhD student in Belfast, a mental health nurse was asked at an inquest if a home visit he made a week before she died was the "tipping point".

Sabina Doll was 26 when police found her body in her east Belfast flat on June 27 last year.

A post-mortem examination found the cause of death to be poisoning by two drugs, believed to be unprescribed antidepressants she had ordered online.

Born in Latvia, she had moved to Belfast in 2008 to complete an undergraduate degree in microbiology.

During her studies she was diagnosed with diabetes and developed serious mental health problems including depression and a borderline personality disorder.

She eventually withdrew from her PhD in 2014 after struggling with her health, but worked part-time as a care home assistant.

Her mother, Eva Doll, represented her daughter in court and raised concerns that "red flags" regarding her care were missed by medical personnel.

She questioned why her daughter's request to change her doctor and antidepressant medication in 2015 was not listened to, and why unprescribed medication she bought online was not confiscated.

Yesterday Mrs Doll focused on a visit to her daughter's flat on June 18, 2016, from mental health nurse Michael Corner.

She said her daughter was "livid" when she called her on the phone shortly afterwards, believing Mr Corner had judged her harshly for sitting at home, and this could have been a "tipping point" that led to her death.

Taking the stand yesterday, Mr Corner described the visit and insisted he had been trying to engage positively with Ms Doll. Mr Corner said he asked Ms Doll if she had visited her GP to which she expressed her irritation at only being given one week's medication at a time.

He attempted to shift the conversation on to things she did to motivate herself, with Ms Doll telling him she liked jogging.

Soon after he said Ms Doll became agitated saying "you're assuming I do nothing all day", and insisted he leave the house.

"She was very adamant, and the best course of action was to leave," Mr Corner said.

"She became irreconcilable about her medication, that was the trigger, she felt a bit mistrusted about only getting a week's supply," he added.

He said he was able to talk to her calmly and "there was no slamming of doors".

Mr Corner said he also reminded her she could call the Home Therapy Team at any time if she needed help.

Addressing Mrs Doll in court, Coroner Patrick McGurgan said: "I'm very sensitive this is the anniversary of your daughter's death today and this is doubly distressing."

The inquest was expected to be resolved yesterday but was adjourned until August in order to hear further evidence from two key witnesses - Ms Doll's consultant psychiatrist Dr Lougherin and social worker Ms Blythe.

Mr McGurgan said Mrs Doll raised legitimate points about why her daughter had been denied a change in antidepressant medication by Dr Lougherin in 2015.

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