Linda death plunge 'to spare her family'

By Rod McPhee FRIENDS and family of a much-loved landlady told an inquest how she took her own life to spare her loved ones the burden of her pain.

Leeds Coroner's Court heard a tribute read aloud yesterday at the end of a hearing which concluded that Linda Catton, 51, took her own life after she separated from her husband and announced her retirement.

Her niece, Liz Coleman, fought back tears as she told the inquest her aunt was revered by friends, family and customers at her pub, The Swan with Two Necks, in Woodhouse, Leeds.

Mother-of-two Mrs Catton jumped from a bridge over Claypit Lane in Leeds city centre on August 23. She had suffered from depression for a year.

After he heard accounts by eyewitnesses, including passer-by Christopher Bishop, coroner David Hinchliff concluded that her intention could only have been to take her own life.

Mr Bishop said: "I saw the lady step towards the railings and remove her shoes. She then pushed herself unto the top of the railings and heaved her head over the top.

"There was no hesitation, it seemed to be a totally deliberate act and it all happened so quickly there was nothing I could do to stop her."

Police confirmed there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the tragedy.

The court heard how Mrs Catton had been taking anti-depressants and had endured a series of problems in her life.

Five years ago she nursed her mother through a terminal illness. She and her husband separated last year and she decided she could no longer continue as landlady, a position she had held for 11 years.

Mr Hinchliff, who recorded a verdict of suicide, said: "She was not going through the happiest periods of her life. The break-up of her marriage had caused her considerable anxiety and a form of depression was the consequence.

"She felt she could no longer manage the pub and would have handed over the keys shortly after."

Mrs Coleman said: "Linda was an incredible person. She leaves behind an emptiness which will never go away. She gave so much love and never asked for anything in return.

"She took the pain away she had with her because she didn't want to burden us. We loved her so much."