A student midwife took her own life after she had to give up her life as an expat in Spain following her arrest by the police over an argument with her husband.
Mother of eight Debra Cull, 55, who suffered from bipolar disorder, was handcuffed and left in a hospital bed in the Murcia region after the seller’s husband, Mathew, called the police to have his wife divided.
She later returned to Britain in March last year without Mr Cull following the intervention of the British Consulate.
But although she enrolled in college as a midwife and made plans for her future, an inquest found that Ms. Cull’s mental health deteriorated after her husband moved back to the UK in August.
On September 4, the telesales assistant who lived alone in Brinnington, Stockport, Greater Manchester, sent him a text message saying, ‘Sorry, I can’t live with myself’, after which he disappeared, leading to a police hunt.
Mother of eight Debra Cull, 55, was found dead in a ravine near her home in Brinnington, Stockport, eight days after texting her husband ‘Sorry, I can’t live with myself’ and disappeared
Her body was found by a dog walker eight days later in a deep ravine in nearby Reddish Vale Country Park. Test showed she had taken a fatal overdose of analgesic tablets.
An inquest revealed that the couple had moved to Spain last year, but were rowing about her ailing mental health.
Her mother Maureen Toon told the Stockport hearing, ‘I know she was suffering, but the problem was she wasn’t using her medication properly.
Her husband told her not to take it because he said the chemicals in it could harm or kill her. She had become very ill while living in Spain and must have had a bipolar episode.
One night he went to a local establishment to play pool and she was in the apartment when the police came. He had called the police because he wanted her to be divided into sections because they had been arguing quite a bit.
An inquest revealed that the couple moved to Spain last year but rowed over her ailing mental health, forcing her to move to the UK months later.
She was handcuffed by the police and the ambulance came to the apartment. They took her to the police station and then to the psychiatric hospital.
Her brother David and her daughter Sharon flew to Spain to talk to the British consul because we wanted her back to the UK for treatment, but they were told no. Debbie screamed and cried and they tied her to a bed when David and Sharon had to leave her. Eventually, the authorities released her and she flew home.
‘I couldn’t travel to see her because of Covid, but I kept in touch with her regularly via text message and FaceTime. It’s hard to say if her mental health had improved when she got home. ‘
Ms Toon added: ‘She was missing and we were on our way to Cornwall for a holiday. I spoke to her the night before and she seemed like a normal Debbie. She said, “You have a nice holiday, forget everything, just go and relax. I’ll see you when I get back.” It was awful when I found out she was missing.
As far as I know, she was on her medication and her husband returned in August. She was much better until then after she got out of the hospital in March.
Debbie was kind and loving and would do anything to help anyone who needed it. She was very generous and family was very important to her.
‘She was studying midwifery and she had about nine months to go before she graduated and that’s why what happened is totally out of character.
She had so many plans for the future. She would throw her daughter a 30th birthday party and finish her midwife training. She loved giving birth to babies and was excellent at it.
In a statement read to the hearing, Mr Cull said: ‘We had a chat in August 2020 and she denied her illness. She was often depressed, she knew she really wasn’t feeling well.
She told me she had an infection and the day she disappeared, at 10:57 AM she said via WhatsApp, “I can’t live with myself.” But then at 11:47 AM she said on WhatsApp, “I’ll be right back, I love you.”
He said that the day before her disappearance, they took their young son James to the Manchester Airport lookout where they ‘had a great time taking selfies and photos’.
Det Ch Insp Gina Brennan, Senior Investigating Officer at GMP who oversaw the investigation, said: “ Debra was first reported missing and was first assessed as medium risk, but that risk was later increased to high within 48 hours. Mr. Cull had reported to the WhatsApp messages that she was sorry and that she couldn’t live with herself because she thought she had an infection.
She said, “I’ll be right back, I love you.” There was no suggestion of disagreement.
Many people are missing for various reasons. Mr. Cull was checked because we have to consider whether there were any problems with the relationship when someone goes missing.
“I was concerned about the relationship with Debra and Mr. Cull and I was concerned about his behavior. However, he had not done anything criminal. There was nothing suspicious about her tragic death. ‘
Gemma Downs, mental health social worker at Pennine Care, said: “Debra had been through turbulent times in terms of mental health, but things fell back into place and she looked forward to the future and made plans.
“I spoke to her about the traumatic experience she had in Spain and suggested therapy, but she didn’t feel she needed it because she received a lot of support from her family.”
Recording a conclusion from suicide coroner Christopher Morris said: ‘This is truly a tragic case. It is very clear from the evidence before that that Debra was a much loved person with a big heart and a generous spirit.
It is clear that her family was very important to her and she cared deeply about her children and grandchildren. Despite having a lot of family support, she had clearly been through many traumatic times with both her health and personal circumstances.
‘She was clearly a very special person, she was very caring and you supported her as much as possible. She has clearly left a big hole in your whole life for what was a very special lady indeed. ‘
- For confidential support, call the Samaritans on 116 123 or visit a local Samaritan branch. See www.samaritans.org for details