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Inquest Reveals GCHQ Employee Rebecca Western-Forrest’s Tragic Death

By Carmelo Garcia, Local Democracy Reporting Service

Matthew Forest/ldrs Rebecca Western-Forrest is sitting on a sofa and smiling at the camera

Rebecca Western-Forrest tragically took her own life following her admission to Wotton Lawn Hospital.

A GCHQ employee described as “loving and accomplished” ended her life after being discharged from an acute mental health facility, despite being at medium suicide risk, an inquest revealed.

Rebecca Western-Forrest, a resident of Cheltenham, was admitted to Wotton Lawn Hospital in Gloucester on January 31, 2022. Although she was experiencing clinical depression, she was treated for anxiety rather than being formally diagnosed.

On March 25, Mrs. Western-Forrest passed away at her residence.

During the inquest proceedings, Doctor Ryan Noronha, a locum at Wotton Lawn in February 2022, testified that there was no improvement in her condition two weeks after her admission. He mentioned that she was granted trial periods of overnight leave and allowed to spend some nights at home in February.

Matthew Forrest/LDRS Rebecca Western-Forrest smiling as she stands by a river

Rebecca Western-Forrest’s husband revealed her intense fear of returning to Wotton Lawn during the inquest.

Ms. Western-Forrest remained a voluntary patient throughout her stay, with no concerns raised about her mental capacity. Plans were made for her gradual discharge when she was considered at medium suicide risk, and her referral to the community health team was made on February 14, anticipating her discharge on March 3.

However, her risk level was later assessed as low, leading to her discharge on February 24. The following day, she had her first visit from occupational health therapist David Roberts.

Mr. Roberts stated that Mrs. Western-Forrest needed ongoing support in the community, education on anxiety and stress management, assistance with daily routines, and long-term employment support.

Matthew Forrest, Mrs. Western-Forrest’s husband, disclosed that she attempted suicide over the weekend of February 27, shortly after being discharged from Wotton Lawn. He emphasized her profound fear of returning to the facility.

Dr. Jonathan Haynes, deputy medical director at Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, mentioned that Mrs. Western-Forrest’s mental health had been impacted by the national lockdown. He acknowledged some remaining Covid restrictions at Wotton Lawn but indicated they did not significantly affect her.

Dr. Haynes highlighted the stressors stemming from the traumatic birth of her twins as a key contributing factor.

Upon ruling her death as a suicide, Senior Coroner Katy Skerrett expressed satisfaction with the care provided during Mrs. Western-Forrest’s hospitalization and after her discharge, noting several instances of good practice.

Matthew Forrest  Rebecca Western-Forrest on holiday, looking into the distance while sat down

The articulate and humorous GCHQ employee and mother of two was fondly remembered.

In contrast, Mrs. Western-Forrest’s mother, in a statement read during the inquest, criticized Wotton Lawn Hospital’s quality of care. She believed that the substandard treatment, not the duration of care, played a role in her daughter’s suicide shortly after discharge.

The spokesperson for Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust extended condolences to the family and emphasized their commitment to implementing lessons learned from investigations to prevent similar tragedies in the future.