Kiwi died after taking up dream job

SIOBHAN DOWNES
Last updated 10:25 02/04/2014

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A young scientist who moved from New Zealand to Britain for her dream job was battling loneliness and homesickness when she took her own life, an inquest has heard.

The coroner described the death of Auckland woman Dr Isobel Maxwell-Cameron as an "enormous tragedy".

The 25-year-old University of Otago graduate gained an organic chemistry research post at the University of Manchester and moved there in October, the Daily Mail reported.

She had a history of depression, obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety, and was receiving treatment.

Police found her dead in her Salford apartment on January 11 after being alerted by her mother.

At an inquest in Manchester, a statement was read from her mother, Priscilla Cameron, who was unable to fly to England from New Zealand.

Cameron said her daughter was struggling with her work and suffering from depression after the recent death of her grandfather.

She had been alone at Christmas, and on January 6 she called her mother to say she had attempted to kill herself.

"She said she was feeling the worst she had ever felt," Cameron said.

Her daughter then saw a psychiatrist and was prescribed antidepressants.

On a Saturday night, Maxwell-Cameron said she wanted to return home, even though she had been offered work outside the laboratory.

"I was surprised by her rapid switch and told her not to rush decisions. The offer of different work seemed like a good start," Cameron said.

She offered to call her daughter later that night but the offer was declined. Maxwell-Cameron said a mental health crisis team would visit in the morning.

The next day, Cameron called and texted her, with no response, and called the Greater Manchester police.

Maxwell-Cameron was found dead in the bathroom of her apartment.

"I regret not encouraging her to come home and not calling her on Saturday night," her mother said.

Manchester West coroner Alan Walsh said Maxwell-Cameron was a "young, talented, intelligent, vibrant young lady" but uncertain about her future in chemistry and disillusioned.

She hid her depression from her friends and colleagues and did not warn anybody what she was about to do, he said.

"For her to die in these circumstances in an apartment in Salford is something that would have been beyond the imagination of her family in New Zealand," he said.

"It is a tragedy of utmost proportion. I am greatly saddened by the loss of such talent."

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Lifeline: 0800 543 354 – Provides 24-hour telephone counselling.

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Samaritans: 0800 726 666 – Provides 24-hour telephone counselling.

Tautoko: 0508 828 865 – Provides support, information and resources to people at risk of suicide, and their whanau and friends.

Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (noon to midnight).

Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (4pm to6pm weekdays). If it is an emergency or you feel you or someone you know is at risk, call 111. For information on suicide prevention, see http://www.spinz.org.nz.

- Stuff

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