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Norwich wife overdoses after mistress sent naked photos



  • Sarah-Jane Cunningham, 38, found out her husband Stuart was having an affair
  • Her husband's mistress sent her explicit pictures of them, she told a friend 
  • Her sister said she had 'destructive' relationships with her husband and alcohol
  • Death was said to be 'cry for help' following three deaths - including her father's 

By Ekin Karasin For Mailonline

Published: 18:12 BST, 19 May 2017 | Updated: 19:05 BST, 19 May 2017

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Sarah-Jane Cunningham, 38, died of an overdose after being sent pictures showing her husband naked with her friend, an inquest heard
Sarah-Jane Cunningham, 38, died of an overdose after being sent pictures showing her husband naked with her friend, an inquest heard

Sarah-Jane Cunningham, 38, died of an overdose after being sent pictures showing her husband naked with her friend, an inquest heard

A woman who was 'addicted to her husband' died of an overdose after she was sent naked photos of him with her friend, an inquest heard.

Sarah-Jane Cunningham, 38, was devastated after her husband Stuart's new lover - a former friend - reportedly sent explicit photos of them together.

She was left heartbroken by the affair and confided in her friend Teresa Church in a phone call the evening before she died at home on July 23 last year. 

Ms Church said in a statement read to the hearing: 'She knew he was having an affair.'

Norfolk area coroner Yvonne Blake recorded a conclusion that Mrs Cunningham’s death was due to drug and alcohol abuse. 

The coroner said she could not conclude that Mrs Cunningham, of Old Catton near Norwich, had intended to kill herself.

Mrs Cunningham, who suffered from 'severe anxiety' was admitted to hospital following overdoses in October 2015 and 2016. 

She spent three nights in hospital after the second overdose, before being released and taking her fatal overdose the next day.

A mental health worker said Mrs Cunningham's death was a 'cry for help' following three bereavements, including her father in 2008. 

Her sister, Kim Dodd, 37, said Mrs Cunnigham had 'destructive' relationships with her husband and alcohol.

She said: 'She was addicted to her husband. They brought out the worst in each other but she would not leave him because she could not cope without him.'

Mrs Dodd said that Mr Cunningham changed after a motorcycle accident in 2014 which left him with post traumatic stress disorder.

She said: 'He had anger management issues after he had his accident. Her problems made his problems worse and they rubbed each other up the wrong way a lot.'

Mrs Dodd added that her sister's discharge from hospital on July 23 was 'not their fault' as she 'knew what she needed to say to get let out'.

Miriam Isaac, clinical team leader at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, met Mrs Cunningham after her overdose in October 2015.

She said: 'It became quite apparent alcohol was a big feature of both her and her husband's life at the time.

Ms Cunningham (far left) was said to be devastated after finding out that her friend and her husband Stuart was having an affair
Ms Cunningham (far left) was said to be devastated after finding out that her friend and her husband Stuart was having an affair

Ms Cunningham (far left) was said to be devastated after finding out that her friend and her husband Stuart was having an affair

'The overdose was an attempt to communicate to her husband her frustrations rather than an attempt to die.'

The inquest heard Mrs Cunningham had been engaging with Norfolk Recovery Partnership and the wellbeing service at Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust. 

An NSFT community mental health practitioner said following a referral in 2010, Mrs Cunningham has exhibited 'severe anxiety' and thoughts of ending her life. 

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust conducted a serious incident investigation which found there was no root cause under the control of the Trust which led to Mrs Cunningham's death, but it outlined lessons learned.

Nurse Daniel Fisher, who wrote the report, said he had recommended recording of alcohol intake should routinely taken in units rather than type of alcohol, and there should be greater access to electronic patient notes across the Trust.

After the inquest, Mrs Dodd said: 'The outcome today was never going to bring my beautiful sister back, but I was pleased to find out that out of the terrible situation some good has come in the fact that the procedures and policies of the mental health team are being changed to ensure that other people like my sister do not slip through the net.

'By sharing the information between the different departments I believe will really help to give other people like her an increased support.' 

 

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