A woman in a vulnerable state tragically ended her life after facing immense difficulties following her partner’s arrest for raping her.

Busy Bee
Busy Bee November 5, 2023
Updated 2023/11/05 at 11:54 AM

Tina Lewis, a woman who was susceptible to harm due to her previous mental health problems, tragically took her own life. The difficulty of handling daily tasks became overwhelming for her, especially after her partner was arrested for raping her. Ms. Lewis, aged 24, passed away at her residence in Cwmbran.

During the inquiry at Gwent coroners’ court in Newport, assistant coroner Rose Farmer revealed that Ms. Lewis had a long history of self-inflicted injuries and had tried to commit suicide multiple times. Originally from Portsmouth, Ms. Lewis spent her adolescent years in foster care after her mother’s illness and subsequent demise, which greatly impacted her mental well-being, as stated by her half-sister Saffron Cave during the inquest.

Ms. Lewis had been previously diagnosed with autism, emotionally unstable personality disorder, and functional neurological disorder. As a vulnerable adult, she struggled with her physical health and had a history of mental health problems prior to her demise.

Ms Lewis had expressed suicidal thoughts and had attempted to take her own life multiple times, both before and after moving from Hampshire to Cwmbran. One of these attempts occurred as recently as February 17, 2023. Following this incident, she was admitted to the Talygarn mental health unit and later released on March 2. Dr. Katie Finch, a clinical psychologist, testified at the inquest that Ms Lewis’s mental health had been deteriorating.

The situation was addressed through additional home visits, meetings with social workers, and guidance on coping with thoughts of self-harm. However, the inquest revealed that there were delays in providing Ms Lewis with the necessary support.

During an ongoing court case, Ms Lewis and her partner Edward Weeks were involved in a legal dispute. Unfortunately, Ms Lewis passed away before the case concluded. Following her death, Weeks was convicted and sentenced for sexually assaulting and raping her while she was asleep in December 2022. The inquest did not delve into the impact of Weeks’ actions.

However, it did reveal that the court case had a significant effect on Ms Lewis. She had arranged her care around the dates she was required in court, and his absence during the proceedings caused difficulties in her everyday activities.

Due to losing the support she usually received from Weeks, Ms Lewis had trouble managing day-to-day tasks on her own. As a result, she was referred to mental health services. In the weeks leading up to her death, Dr Finch provided assistance by helping her with basic tasks, accompanying her on shopping trips, and aiding her in applying for personal independence payments. Dr Finch shared with the inquest that Ms Lewis constantly expressed her desire to demonstrate her ability to handle things independently and spend time with her son.

Ms Lewis was found dead in her home in Malthouse Close, Cwmbran, on March 10, 2023. Earlier that day, she had become “really upset” when a hearing for her case was delayed. Her half-sister, Ms Cave, grew concerned after receiving a worrying message from one of Ms Lewis’ friends and was unable to reach her. Worried for her well-being, Ms Cave called the police.

The police, along with the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service and paramedics, arrived at Ms Lewis’ home around 10.30pm for a welfare check. Despite their efforts to revive her through CPR, Ms Lewis was pronounced dead. Doctors later confirmed that she had passed away several hours earlier. There were no signs of any disturbance or struggle at the scene, and no marks on Ms Lewis’ body indicated any foul play. The detective sergeant from Gwent Police stated that there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding her death.

In determining whether Ms Lewis’ death was suicide, the assistant coroner considered the level of planning involved in the method used. The assistant coroner took into account Ms Lewis’ long-standing mental health difficulties, autism, and previous psychological traumas, many of which were related to her development.

Testimony from Dr. Katie Finch, who had been closely working with Ms Lewis for the past two years, was also considered. The assistant coroner recognized that Dr. Finch had done everything possible to support Ms Lewis, concluding that she could not have done more. Ultimately, it was determined that Ms Lewis’ death was a suicide, based on the balance of probabilities and the intention behind her actions.

After reviewing Ms Lewis’ care, Dr Elanor Maybury, a consultant clinical psychologist at Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, proposed a number of recommendations to avoid a recurrence of similar incidents in the future.

These recommendations centered around the treatment of individuals on waiting lists who have been identified multiple times as being in crisis, as well as enhancing the process of transferring care when a patient like Ms Lewis relocates from Southampton to Torfaen. It is worth noting that all of Dr Maybury’s recommendations have been duly accepted and implemented by the health board.

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