Inquest into the death of Eleanor de Freitas

Wednesday 18 March 2015

The inquest into the death of Eleanor de Freitas concluded with the coroner determining that Eleanor de Freitas’ impending court hearing was a significant stressor in her life at the time of her taking her own life.

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The case has been reported widely in the media, including by the BBC and the Guardian.

Eleanor de Freitas, a 23-year-old woman with bipolar affective disorder and a patient with West London Mental Health Trust, made an allegation of rape to the police in January 2013. The police declined to charge the accused and, eight months later, the accused notified Eleanor that he was bringing a private prosecution against her for perverting the course of justice. At this point, Eleanor’s mental health deteriorated. In December of the same year, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) took over the case and continued with the prosecution, despite the fact that the police did not support her prosecution. Three days before the trial was set to commence, Eleanor took her own life.

The Coroner at West London Coroner’s Court concluded that:
Eleanor de Freitas took her own life. The impending court hearing was clearly a significant stressor in her life at that time.

The family was represented by Leslie Thomas QC and Catherine Oborne, both members of Garden Court’s Inquests Team, who were instructed by Harriet Wistrich of Birnberg Peirce. All three are members of the INQUEST Lawyers Group.

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