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Hunstanton woman Glenys Shelton who was found dead on beach suffered from anxiety and depression after losing husband, inquest hears

A Hunstanton woman who was once the “life and soul of any situation” was found on the town’s beach last winter, an inquest has heard.

A member of the public found the body of 69-year-old Glenys Shelton at around 11pm on Wednesday, October 20 last year after members of her family reported her missing earlier that day.

An inquest held at Norfolk Coroner’s Court in Norwich this afternoon heard that Glenys suffered from anxiety and depression after her husband died of cancer in 2020.

The inquest took place at Norfolk Coroner’s Court
The inquest took place at Norfolk Coroner’s Court

Glenys went to visit her GP, where her anti-depressant medication - which she was on for a long period of time - was changed. This change did not agree with her and she began to experience hallucinations and difficulty in sleeping.

Both of Glenys’s children described the decline in their mother’s mental health during this time, after another visit to the GP, this medication was changed - but Glenys’s mental health was not improving.

The court heard that her condition worsened, with Glenys making comments about taking her own life and complaining of acute stomach pains.

Hunstanton beach
Hunstanton beach

She was referred to stay at Chatterton House in Lynn in July 2022 where she spent more than 100 days in a ward before being discharged.

As part of this, a care package was issued with Glenys being visited by a carer twice a day. She was also under the supervision of the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, Home Instead, and other mental health services.

In 2023, carers and mental health nurses reported that Glenys struggled with her body image and often described herself as looking “fat, ugly and awful” - referring to pictures of herself from more than a decade ago.

In evidence, one carer said that she would try to combat Glenys’s poor self-esteem and often told her that she was “beautiful”.

She also suffered from anxiety and a lack of motivation to leave the house.

One of her carers, who visited her on the evening of her death, said that she arrived at 5pm to find Glenys in bed, but that this was normal.

She reported that she did not mention any intentions of taking her own life, but expressed feeling anxious about a family gathering she had declined to go to.

Her son and daughter said that their mother’s mental health was beginning to improve during the summer of 2023, with Glenys attending more family gatherings and making plans for her 70th birthday.

But police were called on the evening of October 20 by a member of the public following reports that a body had been found on the beach - close to the Sealife Centre.

The inquest heard that the weather that evening was cold and stormy due to storm Babet.

Officers later identified the body as being Glenys’s and CCTV footage was reviewed which revealed that there was no foul play.

A statement was read out in court from James Shelton - Glenys’s son - who said that he saw a decline in his mother’s mental health when she lost her husband, who was her “soulmate”.

He described his parents as the “centre of our family” who would often host family gatherings.

Glenys’s daughter Katie Shelton Innes described her mother in a statement as “the life and soul of any situation” who was “immaculately dressed”.

She said her mother’s mental health began to decline during lockdown.

Senior coroner for Norfolk Jacqueline Lake concluded that Glenys’s death could not be ruled as suicide due to the lack of evidence.

“I don’t know what her intentions were,” said Mrs Lake.

“It may have also been the case that she was walking on the beach without going in the sea, but was pulled in.”

Mrs Lake came to a short-form conclusion that Glenys “drowned in the sea, but the evidence doesn’t reveal if she intended to go in the sea or if she intended to die”.

For confidential support on an emotional issue, call Samaritans on 116 123 at any time.

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