Channel 4 executive overdosed on morphine at her Hampstead home

16:18 24 May 2012

Sarah Mulvey. Picture by Central News

Sarah Mulvey. Picture by Central News

Archant

A talented Channel 4 executive haunted by terrifying flashbacks of the sexual abuse she suffered as a child killed herself by overdosing on morphine in her Hampstead flat.

Sarah Mulvey, 34, who commissioned big rating hitters including How to Look Good Naked, began self harming when she was eight by sticking needles into her fingers.

St. Pancras Coroners Court heard how Ms Mulvey slid into a deep depression and was signed off work in 2009 after falling out with her managers over claims she had been bullied.

In the months preceding her death in January 2010, she had been enduring flashbacks which lasted up to 17 hours, and had begun self harming again by searing her leg with cigarettes.

Deputy coroner Dr Shirley Radcliffe said: “Her work was such an important part of her life. It was her life. It identified the person she was.

“A fear of losing that would be something that would lead to a breakdown.”

Ms Mulvey had sought help from a plethora of psychiatrists and spent four months at the Causeway Retreat in Essex, but the treatment only brought out her problems further.

The court was told how Ms Mulvey checked into the Drayton Park Crisis centre in Islington, run by Camden and Islington Foundation, in January 2010.

But she stormed out of the centre following a blazing row and died from a massive opiates overdose the following day.

Her father criticised the centre for not immediately alerting her GP to the argument.

But doctors insisted that while she had spoken of a ‘three year suicide plan’ they did not believe she had a concrete plan to kill herself.

Deputy coroner Dr Shirley Radcliffe said that by ‘compartmentalising’ the different therapies she was receiving and insisting her therapists maintain ‘extreme confidentiality regarding her medical history’, Ms Mulvey made it difficult to assess her.

She said: “The overwhelming tragic aspect was this sensitivity to abandonment or rejection.

“She wanted to say I’m leaving, but allowing her to do so made her feel rejected. There was a childlike element. She wanted people to run after her and say don’t go.

“She was having help from psychologists, therapists and psychiatrists. This was consultant level. This was not a matter of junior doctors in an NHS clinic seeing her.

“But it was never enough.”

Ms Mulvey left three suicide notes in her flat in Well Walk, but her family told the court they had never been told of them.

She was discovered dead on January 28 having taken a massive overdose of opiates.

Dr Radcliffe returned a narrative verdict but said she was satisfied beyond all reasonable doubt that Ms Mulvey killed herself.

Latest Stories

12:32
The cyclist's helmet camera captured the sickening moment that a car slammed into him [Picture from Youtube]

A cyclist was hit by a car in Romford, slammed into the windscreen and miraculously landed on his feet - and caught the whole thing on his helmet cam.

Read more
11:22
The trio lured their victim to a secluded part of Hampstead Heath (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

A woman lured her fiancé to a secluded part of Hampstead Heath before beating him to near death with the help of two other men so they could steal £200 from him.

Read more
A million passengers are expected to fly out from London airports this weekend (Picture via Getty Images)

Expect travel chaos this weekend as almost one million Londoners are expected to fly out from the capital, with roads and railways also expected to be jam-packed as the summer getaway begins.

Read more

Quirky London

Quizzes

How much do you really know about QPR legends like Les Ferdinand? Picture: Neal Simpson/EMPICS Sport

Test your knowledge of QPR’s greatest players with our fantastic legends quiz.

Read more
How much do you know about films in London? (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Do you know your Lock Stock from your Long Good Friday, Sliding Doors from Shakespeare in Love?

Read more
How much about this great city do you really know? Take our true Londoner quiz and find out (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Do you know your apples from your pears? Take our Cockney quiz and see how much of a Londoner you really are.

Read more
Guess the manager quiz. Here's a hint, it's not these four.

The managerial merry-go-round spins quickly these days so do you think you’ve got the knowledge to recognise the faces of all these football bosses?

Read more
A normal day at London Liverpool Street station

This quiz is for people who think they know the Tube and rail inside out.

Read more