Coroner halts Wigan mum's inquest as evidence goes missing

Bolton Coroner's Court
Bolton Coroner's Court

An inquest into the death of a Wigan mum-of-two had to be adjourned when evidence could not be found.

Coroner Alan Walsh resumed the hearing into the circumstances of how 35-year-old Nathalie Atherton died on Monday afternoon as scheduled.

But just a short time into the inquest, it emerged he did not have a statement that relatives wanted him to read.

The hearing was adjourned for a short time so staff at Bolton Coroner’s Court could look for it.

But they were not successful and an hour later Mr Walsh decided to formally adjourn the inquest until another date.

He said: “Coroners have to be aware that if they do not trace evidence that’s been tendered, they have to be careful not to have insufficiency of inquiry and therefore it is only right that I trace the documents.”

He said the statement may not be relevant, but he did not want to continue the inquest until he had seen it.

Mr Walsh said he was “very sorry” to Mrs Atherton’s husband David, their children and the rest of her family for her death.

He added: “It is something that is quite tragic and I will therefore try to resolve these matters as quickly as possible.”

The inquest had heard Mrs Atherton, of Longshaw Avenue, Billinge, died on August 5 due to suspension by ligature.

She had post-natal depression after the birth of her second child and started to self harm in 2010. She took an overdose of tablets, which led to her being treated in hospital.

Mrs Atherton was referred to mental health services and diagnosed with bipolar disorder and manic depression, the inquest heard.

Her mental health improved during treatment and she was stable for some time, during which she started volunteering as a classroom assistant, went to college and qualified as a teaching assistant.

But last Christmas she started to talk about dying.

It was while asking about this that Mr Walsh was made aware of the missing statement.

The hearing will resume on a date to be fixed.