Contradictory views on why an Edgware woman took her own life emerged at an inquest on Monday.

Family members present at the hearing disagreed on whether Evelyn Lawrence hanged herself because of the domestic abuse she apparently suffered at the hands of her husband David or, as he claims, as a result of longstanding mental health issues.

Mr Lawrence believes his wife was “failed by the mental health services” after he sent her doctors several letters over the years detailing what he believes was her often-hidden darker side.  

Mrs Lawrence, 74, was discovered in the bedroom of her Canons Drive home on March 3 – the same day that she was due to open up divorce proceedings against her husband.

At the inquest at North London Coroner’s Court it emerged she had endured a difficult marriage with her husband, who sat apart from her two adult children and their partners at the hearing.

Coroner Andrew Walker said there was evidence of “turmoil” in Mrs Lawrence’s life, and that she was “under a lot of pressure” from her husband.

He said it was “not safe or fair” to return a verdict of suicide as she had not previously displayed suicidal tendencies. He instead concluded that Mrs Lawrence died as a consequence of self-harm.

"She did not show an indication that she might harm herself and there was no evidence of mental health issues," he said.

The coroner said that medical evidence purporting to instances of domestic violence was very clear.

Mr Lawrence did admit he was arrested by police the week before his wife’s death and forced to leave their home but said the accusations against him arose because of his wife’s poor mental state.

He also gave different accounts for how his wife sustained several injuries, stating that bruising she had on her body was the result of blood-thinning medication and that a broken ankle was sustained by slipping on a wet floor, rather than the “tug-and-tussle” she claimed they had.

“She made it up – every single aspect of it,” he added. 

Dr Joanna Yong, who had treated Evelyn recently, said she thought she did not pose a risk to herself but was concerned about her safety and well-being, saying her relationship with her husband was marred by instances of domestic violence.

She added Mrs Lawrence had a history of depression but was still very shocked when she heard of her death.

When urged to speculate why she believed Mrs Lawrence killed herself, Dr Yong said: “She felt desperate in her home circumstances.”

However Mr Lawrence disagreed, saying medical professionals did not see Evelyn “at her worst”.

“My wife’s suicide is the culmination of events which have built up over years and years. Many times she had been right to the brink,” he argued.

“When she was having a bad time she thought I was the devil incarnate. When she was having a good time we were the best of friends.”

The coroner prevented Mr Lawrence reading out letters dated from as far as back as 2003, where he claims he expressed a concern for his wife’s mental health.

He argued that they were not relevant as Mr Lawrence had never brought them up in person despite attending several meetings with medical professionals with his wife.

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