A FORMER BBC press officer killed herself after becoming addicted to drugs she bought online to treat her alcoholism, an inquest has heard.
The body of Anna Sargent, 36, of Chiswick, was found washed up on the shore of the Thames by Hammersmith Bridge on September 26 last year.
Just a week before, she was taken to Charing Cross Hospital's accident and emergency department where she was treated for panic attacks days after leaving the Priory clinic in Roehampton, where she had admitted herself because she felt she had become addicted to baclofen, a drug she had bought online after reading it would stop her increasing alcohol dependency.
After leaving Charing Cross, she was reported missing and was never seen again until a passer-by spotted her body by the bridge.
West London Coroner, Doctor Sean Cummings heard from the doctor at Charing Cross that Ms Sargent was very worried she would become suicidal if she continued on the baclofen, which is in its early research stages. He added she was very articulate, cogent and factual with what she was going through and he believed she was not at risk of suicide with what she had told him.
However, Ms Sargent's parents, David and Margaret accused psychiatrist, Dr Campbell, from the exclusive £6,000 a week Priory - which has treated many celebrities, including Kate Moss - of neglecting to treat her as well as he could.
West London Coroner's Court heard how she was taking 150mg of baclofen, which has been associated with hallucinations, insomnia, anxiety and nausea. At the Priory, she was put on 60mg of the drug at the beginning of her visit, and this was dropped gradually to zero over a week, after which she released herself.
Mr Sargent, said: "When Anna left the Priory her flatmates took her for a soft drink to talk things through with her, she said she had nothing to live for and in the days after that she didn't want to be left alone for fear of what she would do. When she came out of the Priory, she was in a worse state than when she went in.
"We have information from an independent psychologist saying that withdrawal from baclofen should be taken over two weeks or more to avoid abrupt withdrawal symptoms. It seems to us that the abrupt withdrawal was the direct cause of Anna's death."
Mr Sargent added that he felt there was a distinct contrast between the private sector and the NHS in this case and that the Priory should have informed the NHS about Ms Sargent's treatment and subsequent self-release.
The inquest had to be halted half way through and restarted a month later because Dr Campbell from the Priory said he had read a report about Ms Sargent's treatment and subsequent death, then it transpired he had never actually seen it and did not know if there was one.
Dr Cummings, said: "I'm extremely disappointed, you have lied in court and now we are going to have to adjourn this inquest until a later date."
He returned a verdict of suicide and said the Priory must ensure they continue to improve communication with patients' families.
He said: "The medical cause of her death is drowning. Ms Sargent had a history of depression in her teenage years and struggled with alcohol use and was desperate to stop using alcohol. This has been a very unhappy tale - Ms Sargent was a beautiful girl and she clearly loved her family."