Family Did Not Know About University Student’s Previous Suicide Attempt

Ceara Thacker's father told an inquest into her death that the University of Liverpool did not inform the family of her previous overdose.
University of Liverpool student Ceara Thacker was found dead in May last year
University of Liverpool student Ceara Thacker was found dead in May last year

The father of a student found hanged in her halls of residence has said the family would have “made a difference” if they had known about a previous suicide attempt.

University of Liverpool student Ceara Thacker was found dead at about 11.30pm on May 11 last year, the inquest at Liverpool’s Gerard Majella Courthouse heard on Monday.

Her father, Iain Thacker, told the hearing the 19-year-old, from Bradford, suffered with mental health problems since the age of 13, but kept in regular contact with the family after moving to Liverpool to study philosophy in September 2017.

He said the family were unaware she had gone to hospital after taking an overdose in February 2018 and believed she was continuing to take anti-depressant medication.

He said: “Ceara’s death was a horrible, terrible shock to us all.

“We had no idea that she was struggling so much, if we had known what was going on we would have made sure our daughter was properly supported.”

He said the family could not understand why the university had not contacted them when she went to hospital or on other occasions when she told them she was suffering with mental health.

He said: “We don’t know why Ceara didn’t feel able to tell us what was going on.

“However, we feel very strongly that someone in a position of responsibility needed to ask her if she wanted us to be told.

“Someone needed to recognise that they were dealing with a really vulnerable 19-year-old who was living away from home for the first time, who wasn’t thinking straight, who wasn’t coping and who needed her family to support her.

“If we had been told what was happening with Ceara we would have made a difference.”

Thacker described his daughter as a “perceptive, intelligent, loyal, funny and extremely kind young woman”.

He said she had began to self-harm as a teenager and was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder following a sexual assault, but had received therapy.

Thacker said she disclosed her mental health problems when applying to university.

The court heard on the morning of her death, Ceara had posted on Twitter about the death of Frightened Rabbit singer Scott Hutchison, who took his own life.

She wrote: “Honestly got no words, am so upset. What awful news to wake up to.”

In a statement, friend Aidan Flynn said Miss Thacker had stopped taking anti-depressant medication about three months before her death because it made her feel like a “robot”.

He said at about 2.30am on May 11, he left Miss Thacker in the library and returned to the student accommodation on Brownlow Hill where they both lived, in separate flats.

She later messaged him on Snapchat to tell him she was home, but then said she had cut herself.

They continued to message throughout the day on Snapchat and Facebook, and shortly before 11pm she sent him a message apologising for being emotional.

When Miss Thacker did not respond to his replies, Flynn went to her flat and he and one of her flatmates contacted residential adviser Imogen Webb after there was no answer at her door.

The court heard Webb gained access to the room and called emergency services after discovering Miss Thacker.

Area coroner Anita Bhardwaj said three notes, one addressed to Flynn, one to her boyfriend and another to “World” which contained a web link to a letter she had written, were discovered in her room.

The inquest is expected to last for six days.

Useful websites and helplines:

  • Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393
  • Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.)
  • The Mix is a free support service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email:
  • Rethink Mental Illness offers practical help through its advice line which can be reached on 0300 5000 927 (open Monday to Friday 10am-4pm). More info can be found on

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