Inquest opens four years after Susan Talby and her two children found dead

Susan Talby, 41, and her son Paul Talby, 2, who were found dead in the family home in Werrington in March 2007. Picture: Cambridgeshire Police/PA Wire
Susan Talby, 41, and her son Paul Talby, 2, who were found dead in the family home in Werrington in March 2007. Picture: Cambridgeshire Police/PA Wire
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A MOTHER with severe post natal depression killed two her sons and herself after two years of struggling to try and become the perfect mum.

Susan Talby (41) hanged herself after suffocating two-year-old Paul and his brother Joseph (4) in March 2007 at her home in Coventry Close, Werrington. Mrs Talby’s husband Richard made the grim discovery after returning home from work.

Yesterday, an inquest into the three deaths was opened at Peterborough Town Hall.

The first day of the inquest heard that following the birth of Paul on September 6, 2004, Mrs Talby had repeatedly claimed her two sons were suffering from serious illnesses, when they were both found to be perfectly healthy.

Melanie Sneath, a health visitor who worked with Mrs Talby following Paul’s birth until April 2005, sobbed as she told the inquest how the former nurse said she struggled to cope with the pressures of bringing up two young children.

She said: “When I visited on October 27, 2004, she said Paul was miserable and crying a lot.

“She was struggling to juggle the demands of two children and spending time with her husband.

“The impression I got was Susan felt she was not good enough. She phoned me up on February 1, 2005, asking to meet.

“I went on February 10.

“She was very worried as Paul’s hands and feet were blue.

“She had drawn the conclusion he had cystic fibrosis, even though he didn’t have any symptoms.

“She said she felt she was not being a good mother and agreed to visit her GP over Paul’s hands and feet, as well as to talk about her feelings.”

Mrs Sneath said Mrs Talby was admitted to a psychiatric ward at Edith Cavell Hospital in Peterborough on April 25, 2005, as she was suffering from delusion psychotic depression.

Doctors discovered that she had an obsessional neurosis about her children’s health.

Margaret Ambrose, who took over from Mrs Sneath as the Talbys’ health visitor, added: “In June 2005 she became very anxious about Joseph displaying autistic behaviour.

“But at the three-year health check all was clear and his playgroup leader said Joseph was a very able boy.

“In August of that year, she was still taking anti-depressants and was reluctant to talk about her mental health problems.

“In January 2007, she phoned up to discuss concerns about Joseph wetting the bed and also worried about Paul’s diet, thinking he had diabetes.

“However, the problems the children were having were usual at their ages.

“The last time I spoke to her was February 26. 2007. She sounded anxious, but said she would be all right. However she was more subdued than normal.

“I contacted Edith Cavell hospital to see if there were any support groups available.”

Mrs Ambrose also told the inquest that following the birth of Paul, Mrs Talby had not taken an Edinburgh Post Natal Depression Test, which can give an indication of issues affecting new mothers.

But a statement from Angela Jones, a health visitor who worked with Mrs Talby when she gave birth to Joseph in 2002, said she had taken the test shortly after giving birth for the first time.

She said: “She took the test, which is a self assessment test with multiple choice questions.

“A score of 11 would be an indicator of post natal depression and she scored nine. This did not concern me as it was not unusual for a new mum.”

The inquest is set to continue on Monday.