AN 84-year-old retired businesswoman who lived alone struggled so much when the lockdown was imposed after the Covid -19 pandemic took hold she took her own life an inquest has heard.

Widow Margaret Caffell, struggled with loneliness and when restrictions meant she had to socially isolate and could no longer get out in her car which had enabled her to socialise.

She was found dead in her bed at home – a bungalow in the village of Morton on Swale, near Northallerton – on April 28.

A neighbour had raised the alarm after Mrs Caffell failed to respond to calls and her body was found by paramedic staff.

An inquest into her death was held by Senior North Yorkshire Coroner Robert Turnbull at County Hall in Northallerton yesterday. He was told Mrs Caffell was in good health for her age apart from problems with her knees.

Neighbour and friend Irene Oldfield said in a statement to the inquest that she had spoken to Mrs Caffell the day before and she had seemed her normal self, but the friend raised the alarm the day after when there was no response at the house.

Mrs Oldfield said: “She was a jolly person who only ever complained about her knees. I think she became very lonely during lockdown. Her car trips stopped. Lockdown was just too much for her.”

Police officers who attended after emergency services were alerted found the two bedroomed house, which was in a quiet cul-de-sac in the village, was well kept and tidy with fresh food in the fridge and cash and a shopping list left in the kitchen by Mrs Caffell.

The hearing was told there were no family photographs on display in the house and it’s not thought Mrs Caffell had any close family members left. A briefcase containing bank statements and a will which was dated 2015 was also found in the house by the police officers.

Mr Turnbull recorded a verdict of suicide.

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