Two days after celebrating her 20th birthday, Hannah Armstrong, an art student who dreamed of a career in Hollywood, hanged herself after struggling to deal with being sexually assaulted during a camping trip. According to an inquest, she moved to a seaside university, The Arts University in Bournemouth, where she hoped to make a 'fresh start' following the attack. She reported it to police but feared bumping into her attacker in her home town of Ballymena in Northern Ireland.
It was gathered that barely two weeks into her new life, she confided in a friend that she feared the man she accused of assaulting her would escape justice and wanted to hurt herself. The concerned friend immediately called the police but when officers knocked on Hannah's halls of residence door, she had already hanged herself.
While conducting the inquest at Bournemouth Coroner's Court, Coroner Sheriff Payne heard how she had suffered from depression being the victim of a sexual assault during a camping trip with friends at the age of 17. She had reported it to police just 10 months before she died.
In a statement read at the inquest, Hannah's mother, Dr Hilary Armstrong, a GP who runs a cosmetic skin clinic, said her daughter was diagnosed with ADHD and a mental illness in 2011 after her grades slipped and 'she had lost her sparkle', adding that prescribed medication improved her outlook on life.
Dr Armstrong said her daughter later revealed to her that she had been sexually assaulted in 2013 while camping with friends. 'She said it made her feel violated and she admitted she had thoughts about hanging herself.
Her mental illness was triggered by the assault which the local mental health service [in Ireland] did not take seriously,' Dr Armstrong added.