Wife of Devon Royal Marine killed herself after battling alcohol addiction


A Devon coroner has flagged up the lack of help for young women with alcohol problems locally after the wife of a Royal Marine based at the Commando Training Centre in Lympstone, Devon, jumped 40ft to her death near Darling’s Rock.

An inquest heard Rachel Hawkins, 34, left a suicide note for their two young daughters. She killed herself after a long-term battle with alcohol abuse which began in her teens, but became worse after the death of her father.

She would drink two-three bottles of wine a day and tried to detox on several occasions – including as an in-patient – but found the services available to young women lacking.

Recording a verdict of suicide, coroner Andrew Cox expressed his sympathy to her husband Royal Marine Sgt Wayne Hawkins.

The coroner said: “Detox facilities for young women are few and far between. It is not ideal, putting it at its best. Unfortunately she was not able to find the treatment that she needed that would have allowed her to make a complete recovery for her addiction to alcohol.”

The inquest was told that at 7.45pm on July 29 last year, Rachel’s body was found on rocks near Darling’s Rock in Lympstone. She was lying on her back at the bottom of the 40ft cliffs.

The alcohol level in her blood was equivalent to twice the legal drink drive limit. Her cause of death was given multiple injuries in keeping with fatal blunt trauma.

Sgt Hawkins had been married to Rachel since 2000. They lived in the village of Lympstone and he worked at the Commando Training Centre.

He told the inquest in Exeter that his wife’s drink problem only really became apparent in the last two and a half years after her dad had died.

“She attempted to detox a couple of times, but neither succeeded,” he said. In rehab there were only a couple of women and nowhere else she could go.

“When she was not drinking she seemed quite chipper.”

On the day she died. Sgt Hawkins was at work and called her at about 2pm.

“She said she had written a note. I said we had already discussed this and that was not an option and we would sort ourselves out.

“It was not the first time we had that type of conversation. It was more like cries for help to get someone to listen. I did not speak to her again after that.”

Her body was discovered by Justin Smallwood, who was on an evening walk. He rushed over to try and help but could not find any signs of life.

“She was cold and was already deceased,” he said.

He phoned the emergency services and waited until police and paramedics arrived.

Police confirmed there was nothing suspicious and no evidence of third party involvement in her death.

Following Rachel’s death, flowers and cards were left by family at a beauty spot overlooking the Exe Estuary at Cliff Field in her memory.1.

Her husband led the tributes. He said: “I am very grateful for all the support and messages of sympathy from family, friends and workmates.

“This is a particularly painful and sad time for my family and myself as we come to terms with our loss.” Article Link…

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