A PENSIONER with dementia took her own life by walking into the sea off Mersea two days after she was discharged from an mental health inpatient centre, an inquest has ruled.

Diane Hatherly’s body was discovered on the island’s beach by members of the public during a full-scale search involving Essex Police and the coast guard.

The 72-year-old, who had a history of anxiety and depression, had been reported missing by her husband Stephen at at 11.45am on February 13 this year.

Chelmsford Coroner’s Court ruled yesterday Mrs Hatherly had intended to take her own life.

Kirsty Roberts, coroner’s officer, said: “She had a history of anxiety and depression and had been under the care of the mental health services since 2017.

On November 15, 2018, she was admitted to the Kingswood Centre inpatient unit in Colchester after going missing, where she remained for three months.

“On November 16 she was given a dementia assessment and she was diagnosed with dementia.

“She was discharged on February 11, this year, and on February 13 she left her home and when she did not return she was reported missing to Essex Police.”

Insp Julia Finch was the duty inspector when Mrs Hatherly went missing.

She said: “I conducted a review of the circumstances and I assessed her as being high risk.”

Officers were sent to the area and called in the coastguard to assist with the search. Insp Finch said: “Some hours later officers heard screaming and made their way to the beach and members of the public had found her on the sea front.”

Paramedics attempted CPR but Mrs Hatherly was pronounced dead at Colchester Hospital. A postmortem exam said she drowned due to dementia. Toxicology results found only prescription medication.

Husband Stephen Hatherly told the court her family believed she had meant to take her own life.

He said: “It is very difficult to imagine what was going through her mind at that time.”

Senior Coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray recorded a verdict of suicide.

She said: “I have come to the view she formed the intention and took a deliberate action knowing it would result in her death.”