Grenfell Tower hero doc killed herself after texting boyfriend ‘life is overwhelming. My job on earth is done’

A HEROINE of the Grenfell Tower disaster killed herself two years after volunteering to help survivors, an inquest heard.

Dr Deborah Lamont, 44, won the Red Cross’s highest award for her work in the aftermath of the 2017 blaze which claimed the lives of 72 people.

 Heroic Dr Deborah Lamont holds up her prestigious Red Cross award

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Heroic Dr Deborah Lamont holds up her prestigious Red Cross awardCredit: Athena Picture Agency
 The doctor battled mental health problems and alcohol issues in the past

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The doctor battled mental health problems and alcohol issues in the pastCredit: Athena Picture Agency

But an inquest heard she had battled alcohol and mental health problems since her teens and made previous suicide attempts.

Dr Lamont’s team at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff attended an event in March 2019 to congratulate them for their work.

But the court heard the divorcee appeared “sullen” and told her new boyfriend and work colleague Jim Rees she felt “claustrophobic “ and needed get away.

Dr Lamont booked into a hotel and sent text messages to Mr Rees saying: “Life is overwhelming. I feel like treating myself as badly as possible.”

Mr Rees told the hearing he gave her the Samaritans telephone number and called 999 after the texts “escalated” with one saying: “I think my job on this earth is done.”

Police found Dr Lamont in her room at the Village Hotel in Whitchurch, Cardiff. She told officers she had attempted suicide but it had gone wrong.

The inquest heard police were powerless to detain her under the Mental Health Act because she was not in a public place.

PC Barry Simpson told the hearing: “It was clear to me that I could not section her because she was in a private room.

“I believed I did not have the power because she was not in a public place.

YOU’RE NOT ALONE

EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost – to suicide.

It doesn’t discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.

It’s the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes. And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.

Yet, it’s rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.

That is why The Sun has launched the You’re Not Alone campaign. To remind anyone facing a tough time, grappling with mental illness or feeling like there’s nowhere left to turn, that there is hope.

To mark World Suicide Prevention Day, over the course of this week, we will tell you the stories of brave survivors, relatives left behind, heroic Good Samaritans – and share tips from mental health experts.

The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.

Let’s all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others. You’re Not Alone.

For a list of support services available, please see the Where To Get Help box below.

“Debbie was adamant she was going to stay at the hotel and get help the next day. I left still having ongoing concerns for Debbie.”

Her boyfriend Mr Rees, a service manager for the British Red Cross, said he didn’t want to stay with Dr Lamont at the hotel and told her when he arrived in her room.

He told the hearing: “The reason I felt I could not stay was because it would be giving her the signal that if she wanted attention and affection from me, harming herself would be a good way of doing that.”

Mr Rees said they were at the start of their relationship and had only been intimate twice after booking into a hotel after work.

The inquest heard police, paramedics and a mental health crisis team decided it was safe to leave Dr Lamont alone at the hotel for the night.

‘TRULY SORRY’

But when Mr Rees got back to home in Swansea he received a text message saying: “You have not only lost a friend, you have lost an employee.”

A second message at 9.40pm said simply: “I’m truly sorry, X.”

Dr Lamont, who lived with her parents in the village of Dinas Powys, Vale of Glamorgan, was found hanged in her hotel room later that night.

After her volunteering work at Grenfell Dr Lamont was awarded The Henry Dunant Medal, the highest honour the Red Cross can give one of its members.

The inquest heard at the time of the tragedy South Wales Police were trialling a triage scheme for dealing with people going through a mental health crisis.

The case was referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission and South Wales Police’s Professional Standards Department but no action was taken.

The inquest, in Pontypridd, continues.

 The horror Grenfell Tower blaze claimed 72 lives in June 2017

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The horror Grenfell Tower blaze claimed 72 lives in June 2017Credit: EPA
 The inquest into Deborah's death continues

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The inquest into Deborah’s death continuesCredit: Athena Picture Agency


If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems the Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123, or visit Mind’s website.


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