A YOUNG woman from Thatcham intentionally took her own life while on holiday in Lithuania, a coroner has ruled.
Rachael Perkins, 21, had been expressing “dark thoughts” and had created a series of morbid drawings of her own death, the inquest heard.
Her body was discovered on the morning of Monday, July 11, in a play park in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, where she had been visiting the family of her boyfriend.
The cause of death was given as hanging.
Assistant coroner for Berkshire, Emma Jones, recorded a verdict of suicide – telling the inquest she was satisfied that Miss Perkins, of Druce Way, had intended to take her own life.
The former Reading College student, who had a history of mental illness and cannabis use, had not been seen since walking off from her partner, Edwyn Jarosevic, the previous evening at around 11pm.
The inquest heard how Mr Jarosevic had to run to catch up with his girlfriend, before stopping to light his cigarette.
In a statement given to the Lithuanian authorities, which was read out at the inquest, Mr Jarosevic said: “At that point Rachael did not stop and kept on walking.
“I turned around to light my cigarette – I turned back, but could not see her.
“I just turned my back for a second and could not understand how she could disappear.”
Mr Jarosevic reported her missing to the police the following afternoon when she failed to return to his parents’ home.
Speaking to the Lithuanian authorities, Mr Jarosevic had said his girlfriend did not seem annoyed and had been acting “normal” before she disappeared.
A previous inquest hearing had been adjourned in November owing to a lack of information surrounding the death from the Lithuanian authorities.
In a separate statement to the English coroner, Mr Jarosevic had described Miss Perkins as feeling “stressed” in the moments before she went missing, which had caused him to become “agitated”.
Miss Perkins had previously been diagnosed with anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder, and had suffered a breakdown in 2012, which had been linked to her use of cannabis at the time.
According to Mr Jarosevic’s statement, Miss Perkins had stopped using drugs 10 days prior to her death.
A post mortem examination found traces of cannabis in Miss Perkins’ blood and urine.
However, the drug can remain in the body for a number of weeks.
No alcohol was found in her system and no other injuries were noted.
In a further statement read out at the inquest at Reading Town Hall on Thursday, May 4, Mr Jarosevic had said he was aware of Miss Perkins’ previous mental health issues and talked about conversations he had had with her.
“Once she said she did not see any point in living,” he told police.
“She had dark thoughts.”
The inquest also heard how, after arriving in Lithuania on July 3, concerns had been raised by Mr Jarosevic’s family when Miss Perkins revealed a drawing she had made of (what was believed to be) herself lying in a coffin.
Miss Perkins’ parents told the inquest how a series of similar drawings had been discovered in her room following her death.
After considering the evidence, the coroner told Miss Perkins parents: “In my opinion, it was very important to obtain this file of evidence from the Lithuanian authorities.”
Concluding the inquest, Mrs Jones said: “She obviously thought about how she’s going to do it, coupled with past mental health difficulties, that drawing she did of the coffin and expressing ‘dark thoughts’.
“Taking all the evidence into account, I’m satisfied that she did intend to take her own life on this occurrence and that it was more than a cry for help.
“Therefore, I will record a verdict of suicide.”