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Chichester model found hanging from fire escape in Hallowe'en outfit



  • Harriet Penelope Henry, 28, took her own life after winning a fancy dress contest
  • Inquest heard the model stormed off following an argument with her boyfriend
  • In a statement, her partner Josh Mercier said the couple had volatile relationship
  • She had a history of self harming and suicide attempts, the coroner's court heard

By Alexander Robertson For Mailonline

Published: 09:24 EDT, 13 March 2018 | Updated: 11:15 EDT, 13 March 2018

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A model was found hanging from a fire escape while dressed in devil horns and red body paint following a row with her boyfriend, a coroner heard.

Harriet Penelope Henry, 28, took her own life after winning a fancy dress contest at a Hallowe'en party in Chichester, West Sussex last year.

Her inquest heard the part-time model stormed off following an argument with her boyfriend on October 29, last year.

She had a history of self harming and previous suicide attempts, the coroner's court heard.

Harriet Penelope Henry (shown right) was found hanging from a fire escape while dressed in devil horns and red body paint following a row with her boyfriend Josh Mercier. The pair are pictured together on a night out (not the evening that she died)
Harriet Penelope Henry (shown right) was found hanging from a fire escape while dressed in devil horns and red body paint following a row with her boyfriend Josh Mercier. The pair are pictured together on a night out (not the evening that she died)

Harriet Penelope Henry (shown right) was found hanging from a fire escape while dressed in devil horns and red body paint following a row with her boyfriend Josh Mercier. The pair are pictured together on a night out (not the evening that she died)

An inquest into Miss Henry's death heard the part-time model stormed off following an argument with her boyfriend on October 29, last year
An inquest into Miss Henry's death heard the part-time model stormed off following an argument with her boyfriend on October 29, last year

An inquest into Miss Henry's death heard the part-time model stormed off following an argument with her boyfriend on October 29, last year

The 28-year-old (pictured) had a history of self harming and previous suicide attempts, the coroner's court heard
The 28-year-old (pictured) had a history of self harming and previous suicide attempts, the coroner's court heard

The 28-year-old (pictured) had a history of self harming and previous suicide attempts, the coroner's court heard

Mr Mericer said Penny had sent him text messages after leaving his flat in Chichester telling him she was leaving him
Mr Mericer said Penny had sent him text messages after leaving his flat in Chichester telling him she was leaving him

Mr Mericer said Penny had sent him text messages after leaving his flat in Chichester telling him she was leaving him

In a statement read at the inquest, Josh Mercier said the couple had a volatile relationship.

He said Penny had sent him text messages after leaving his flat in Chichester telling him she was leaving him.

'I've been told things like this by her in the past and it didn't seem out of the ordinary,' he said. 'At 06.22am, she said goodbye. I tried to call her.

'I thought she'd get back in touch once she'd calmed down.'

Psychiatrist Dr Jean Sherrington told the inquest Harriet, known to her friends as Penny, had been treated for an emotionally unstable personality disorder as a result of sexual abuse as a child.

'She would have had distressingly intense feelings which they find difficult to manage.

'Self harming was a way of dealing with those intense feelings,' the doctor said.

Dr Jean Sherrington told the inquest Harriet, known to her friends as Penny, had been treated for an emotionally unstable personality disorder as a result of sexual abuse as a child
Dr Jean Sherrington told the inquest Harriet, known to her friends as Penny, had been treated for an emotionally unstable personality disorder as a result of sexual abuse as a child

Dr Jean Sherrington told the inquest Harriet, known to her friends as Penny, had been treated for an emotionally unstable personality disorder as a result of sexual abuse as a child

Miss Henry had worked as a model and in bars and coffee shops in Chichester before her death
Miss Henry had worked as a model and in bars and coffee shops in Chichester before her death

Miss Henry had worked as a model and in bars and coffee shops in Chichester before her death

Mental health professionals who had assessed her before Miss Henry's death did not believe she was a suicide risk
Mental health professionals who had assessed her before Miss Henry's death did not believe she was a suicide risk
Miss Henry
Miss Henry

Mental health professionals who had assessed her before Miss Henry's death did not believe she was a suicide risk

Miss Henry's mother Barbara Stewart-Newell described her daughter as an emotional person who understood and empathised with everyone
Miss Henry's mother Barbara Stewart-Newell described her daughter as an emotional person who understood and empathised with everyone

Miss Henry's mother Barbara Stewart-Newell described her daughter as an emotional person who understood and empathised with everyone

Her mother Barbara Stewart-Newell described her daughter as an emotional person who understood and empathised with everyone.

'She seemed to be drawn to troubled characters who she tried to save,' Mrs Stewart-Newell said.

Miss Henry had worked as a model and in bars and coffee shops in Chichester.

Mental health professionals who had assessed her before her death did not believe she was a suicide risk.

Coroner Elisabeth Bussey-Jones said: 'She was clearly a very beautiful lady who touched the lives of many.

'She was clearly in a very low and distressed place at the time she did this.' 

Harriet Penelope Henry, 28, took her own life after winning a fancy dress contest at a party in Chichester, West Sussex last year (pictured: the alley where Miss Henry was found)
Harriet Penelope Henry, 28, took her own life after winning a fancy dress contest at a party in Chichester, West Sussex last year (pictured: the alley where Miss Henry was found)

Harriet Penelope Henry, 28, took her own life after winning a fancy dress contest at a party in Chichester, West Sussex last year (pictured: the alley where Miss Henry was found)

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