Mother-of-four killed herself after social services said she couldn't have her children back because she'd rowed with 'toxic' partner about Clare's Law revelations of his past

For confidential support, call Samaritans on 116 123, visit samaritans.org or visit https://www.thecalmzone.net/get-support 

A coroner has warned about the lack of support for vulnerable women who receive disturbing information about abusive partners from the authorities after a mother-of-four killed herself.

Katie Madden, 32 – who survived child sex abuse and a string of ‘toxic’ partners – was hoping to have her children returned to her from her mother’s care when she asked police for information about her partner under Clare’s Law.

The response she received led to an argument with the man and social services deemed her too ‘inconsistent’ to have her children back.

Shortly afterwards, she hanged herself at her home in Lowestoft, Suffolk.

Recording a conclusion of suicide while the balance of the mind was disturbed, Suffolk coroner Nigel Parsley said he would be issuing a Prevention of Future Deaths Report based on his findings in the case.

It is understood the report will be sent to Suffolk Police, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, which provides mental health care in the region, and Suffolk County Council’s adult care services.

Katie Madden, 32 ¿ who survived child sex abuse and a string of ¿toxic¿ partners ¿ (pictured) was hoping to have her children returned to her

Katie Madden, 32 – who survived child sex abuse and a string of ‘toxic’ partners – (pictured) was hoping to have her children returned to her

She hanged herself at her home in Lowestoft, Suffolk

She hanged herself at her home in Lowestoft, Suffolk

Mr Parsley said: ‘There has been no evidence that recipients of a Clare’s Law domestic violence disclosure are being treated as a higher risk, or of being of great vulnerability, when action is being considered to remove their children or further toxic or coercive behaviour is occurring.

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‘The state knew that Katie was at risk because they delivered a Clare’s Law disclosure to her and yet, throughout this inquest, I’ve barely seen it referenced.

‘I’ve barely seen any professionals treat Katie as more vulnerable because she is in a toxic relationship – one in which we know domestic violence has already occurred.

‘With someone with Katie’s mental health issues, this is invariably going to make her more vulnerable.’

The two-day inquest in Ipswich heard Miss Madden had suffered trauma during her childhood and was involved in her latest ‘toxic relationship’.

Her mother, Bernadette Sutton, said her daughter had witnessed domestic violence as a child but otherwise she had ‘no concerns about her in her younger years’.

This changed suddenly when she was 12, she added, saying: ‘She went from this bubbly girl to being really low in mood, sleeping a lot, and not wanting to engage with anyone.

‘I subsequently learned years later that she was abused at that age sexually by an older family member.’

Aged 16, Miss Madden moved out to live with a couple under the care system but soon after fell pregnant with her first child and left school. Another child followed six years later in 2013.

‘There was a pattern in Katie’s life where she chose bad partners,’ Ms Sutton said.

‘Every partner used her to have a roof over their heads and live off her.’

By 2017, Miss Madden had met a new partner and they had two children together.

But her mother added: ‘The relationship was very toxic. He was violent and controlling and remained in Katie’s life up until her death because Katie wanted him to have a relationship with his children.’

Miss Madden received a notification from police after applying for information and a friend found her dead at home on June 4 last year.

The inquest was told she had been diagnosed with anxiety, depression and an ‘emotionally unstable personality disorder’.

This, Mr Parsley said, made her act impulsively when confronted by stress or emotionally painful decisions.

He added: ‘Katie had previously received a Clare’s Law domestic violence disclosure and was known to be in a toxic relationship. Katie had historically and recently been the victim of domestic violence.

‘Despite contact restrictions, Katie had argued with the subject of the domestic violence disclosure just prior to her death.

‘Katie’s toxic relationship, in conjunction with her known mental health conditions, affected her state of mind and therefore contributed to her death.’

Ms Sutton told the inquest her daughter had been a ‘lovely, kind, caring and polite’ woman who had once ‘aspired to become a mental health nurse’.

Potential victims of domestic abuse were given the right to request background checks on their partner following a campaign by the father of Clare Wood.

The mother-of-one, 36, from Salford, Manchester, was strangled and set on fire by her former partner, George Appleton, in 2006. She had not been aware of his history of violence.

Set up in 2014, the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, known as Clare’s Law, gives police 35 days to respond to a request for information.

A Suffolk Police spokeswoman said: ‘We are unable to provide a comment at this time, pending sight of the report being issued.’

A Suffolk County Council Spokesperson said:’We would like to offer our deepest condolences to the family of Miss Madden.

‘We will wait to receive the recommendations from the coroner’s Prevention of Future Deaths report. We are always open to learning and will carefully consider the recommendations made in the report.’

• For confidential support, call Samaritans on 116 123, visit samaritans.org or visit https://www.thecalmzone.net/get-support 

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