Belfast Telegraph

I screamed but no one came: Mum recalls the day troubled Sophy died

Liz Stott with photographs of her daughter Sophy, who preferred to be called Sebastian
Liz Stott with photographs of her daughter Sophy, who preferred to be called Sebastian
Sophy, who preferred to be called Sebastian

By Cate McCurry

A grieving mother has spoken of the harrowing moment she found her daughter's body minutes after she had taken her own life.

Sophy Stott was gifted with exceptional academic ability and was a talented musician and writer, but she was plagued with suicidal thoughts for most of her teenage years.

The 20-year-old, who was born female, had been transitioning to become male, and was referred to as Sebastian.

The former Methodist College pupil died on March 19, 2015.

An inquest into her death heard how the talented Belfast woman, who had a promising future ahead of her, battled against a personality disorder and alcohol issues.

At the age of 16 Sophy made an allegation to her mother that she had been raped.

After attempting suicide on several occasions, Sophy was referred to Dr Iain McDougall, a psychiatrist, at the request of her mother Elizabeth.

During Sophy's first appointment with Dr McDougall on November 18, 2014, she discussed her suicidal thoughts and revealed that she had been raped.

Dr McDougall told the court that he felt Sophy's primary issues were alcohol misuse and a personality disorder.

"She had difficulty engaging with mental health and alcohol addiction services," he said.

"She refused crisis counselling."

Mrs Stott, however, said that her daughter displayed autistic tendencies and she felt this was one of the root causes of Sophy's behaviour.

She added that one of the reasons Sophy would not engage with services was that she couldn't be involved in group therapy.

"After she met with Dr McDougall she said she was annoyed at him, as she felt he was focusing on matters she did not think were important," she added. On March 3, some two weeks before her death, Sophy's antidepressant medication was changed from citalopram to sertraline.

Some time after she started taking the new medication, Mrs Stott said there was a "definite change" in her daughter's mood.

"Between March 10 and 16 she tried to take her life three times, but I was in the house each time and stopped her," she said.

On March 16 she met with Dr McDougall for the last time.

However, she did not reveal her recent suicide attempts, but discussed how the new antidepressants made her mood low.

Three days later, on the evening of Sophy's death, her mother told Belfast Coroner's Court how she returned home from the shop to find her lifeless body on the stairs and of her desperate attempts to save her only child's life.

"I screamed but no one came," she said.

Dr McDougall said that he did "everything he could" to help Sophy engage with mental health services.

"I genuinely thought I was someone who could have helped Sebastian," he added.

The court also heard how following an internal investigation by the Belfast Trust, patients are now offered an opportunity to engage on a one-to-one basis in an informal setting, which has come as a result of Sophy's death.

"It's great to see something is happening, but it's too late for me and it's too late for Sophy," Mrs Stott said.

"Sophy didn't think she was ever believed, and that's why she is dead."

The inquest continues.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph