Coroner’s Court told ex-Olympic swimmer took her own life

Coroner's Court
Coroner's Court

A former Olympian left in ‘debilitating’ pain from arthritis took her own life during a New Year break from a psychiatric hospital, Lincoln Coroner’s Court was told.

Annie Chu Ying Nee Deptford, 78, was found hanged in the early hours of New Year’s Day, 2018, at her home in South Street, Caistor.

The court heard Mrs Deptford had enjoyed a very active life until 2012, when she developed chronic pains in her back, legs and 
knees.

The mother-of-one, who represented Hong Kong in swimming and tennis at the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games, showed signs of great frustration at arthritis and lower back inflammation and began to suffer sleeplessness, the court heard.

Mrs Deptford eventually had difficulty standing and walking and - despite strong painkillers - she was unable to live a normal life and became very depressed.

In a last ditch attempt to overcome her back pain, Mrs Deptford flew to Hong Kong for a major operation in March 2017, after UK doctors refused to do the
procedure.

But the operation did not have the desired effect, and Mrs Deptford was left in constant pain.

A statement from Mrs Deptford’s husband David told how she lost her appetite and was only managing two to three hours of sleep per 
night.

Assistant Coroner Marianne Johnson said: “It’s very clear Mrs Deptford 
was a very active lady.

“The pain must have been so debilitating for her, no amount of medication was able to prevent that pain, it was constant in her 
life.

“She was putting on a brave face for the staff at the hospital.”

Mrs Deptford admitted herself to a psychiatric hospital on December 13, returning home for Christmas and then again on December 
31.

On the evening before she died Mrs Deptford complained of ‘excessive pain, worse than previous’, the court was 
told.

Ms Johnson recorded a death of suicide.