Friday, March 20, 2015

The Brenda Leyland Inquest and the Suicide Ruling

The ruling came down today that Brenda Leyland committed suicide, that no one else was else was involved in causing her death. Already there are those who say they will never accept the ruling, that they have no doubts Brenda was murdered. Others accept the suicide ruling but believe that there are those who are responsible for pushing Brenda to the edge, in a sense, pushing her off the cliff. I certainly see their point of view; Brenda might be alive today if Martin Brunt hadn't doorstepped her, if the newspapers hadn't run a vicious campaign of name-calling, labeling Brenda a troll in large black letters across the top of tabloids, perhaps, if she hadn't been targeted by certain pro-McCann groups that turned over a certain list to the McCanns/Summers&Swan/SKY/the police/whomever that started the ball rolling.

But, as far as the manner of death is concerned, there is a large gap between criminal behavior and bad behavior. Just as Brenda Leyland's tweets did not meet the standard of criminal behavior, those who outed Brenda did not commit any criminal acts as far as I can see, just rather mean ones. Now, defamation is another matter and this is a civil one which Brenda Leyland's family can decide to pursue or not.

But I want to discuss the matter of suicide, why people choose this option and how often families and others often refuse to accept this manner of death as what really happened, why they so often believe someone has gotten away with a homicide staged as a suicide.

First, to why people commit suicide; because it brings an end to the struggle, whatever struggle it is. Often, the full depth of that struggle is not apparent which is why the act of suicide comes as such a shock to those around the deceased. They might have understood that the victim had problems or was depressed, but they don't believe that it was so bad that the person would have taken his or her own life. Interestingly, sometimes they are actually right, but the person who has committed suicide lacked the ability to put things into perspective; that whatever misery they feel today may blow over in a couple of weeks, or they are overfocusing on the negative, or everyone in life experiences bad blows. Some people can handled massive trauma and others are felled by the slightest misfortune; people are very different but families and friends often can't fathom someone taking their life over something they think could have been weathered.

Brenda Leyland could have refused to talk to Martin Brunt. She could have shut down her Twitter account, stayed away from the Internet, and taken a vacation to the Canary Islands until all the nastiness in the news had blow over. She could have then returned to friends and family and taken up the rescue of abandoned animals. She could have, but she didn't. She simply couldn't stand the pain she found herself in after being thrashed in the media and she decided to remove herself from ever having to deal with it or think of it again. This is the way suicide happens.

But, some just won't believe it, in spite of no evidence to the contrary. Brenda had contemplated suicide; she said so to Martin Brunt. She researched ways to kill herself. She bought implements with which to take her own life. She went to a private place where she would not be disturbed. She carried out her wish to end her time on earth. There is zero evidence of anyone else in the room who assisted her in any way nor is there any evidence of trauma which might indicate someone forcefully took Brenda's life.

I can't tell you how many obvious cases of suicide are brought to me by family who claim their loved one was murdered. It doesn't matter to them that the death occurred behind a locked door, that there was no sign of violence, that there was a three page suicide note left beside the body written in the victim's handwriting, that the deceased had spoken of suicide prior to taking their life or had actually attempted suicide prior to this successful suicide. They cannot accept that the victim needed to go to this extreme, that if they had been that desperate, the family would have known it and they would have helped them.

And, I think, in the end, this is why the family refuses to accept a suicide ruling; they feel guilty. They feel like they should have, could have done something. They should have known their loved one was in such a bad way, they should have, oh, why didn't they know? Were they too involved in their own lives, did they brush off their loved one when they had asked for help? Did they roll their eyes or scoff at them when they spoke of their problem being so bad? Did they tell them to get over it, move on with their lives, grow a backbone? Did they tell them their significant other wasn't worth moaning about? Did they push them too hard in school? Did they, did they, did they? The recriminations go on because the truth of the matter is, you often have no idea if a person is ready to jump, really jump, this time.

Who knows if during another week or month of her life Brenda Leyland would have chosen to tell everyone to sod off and then taken a cruise around the world? Who knows if Brenda didn't have a myriad of other problems and this was just the straw that broke the camel's back? Who knows if the same treatment had been meted out to another "troll" that this person might have not have stood up and fought back? Who knows? None of us. 

My prayers go out to the family of Brenda Leyland in the wake of this tragedy. Whether they want to pursue a civil course of action is entirely up to them. But, as far as a criminal matter, this case is simply not one.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

March 20, 2015


Anonymous said...

I have to agree with what you have said, tragic as it is... she needed to escape. What I do find hard to accept is the way Sky and the whole Media portrayed her, adamant she was a vicious troll. I hope now that everyone will respect her family and allow them to come to terms with feelings & their sad loss.

Anonymous said...

And the absence of any suicide note? especially from a very well educated and articulate caring mother who was thoughtful to her animals and would surely outline her requests for their well-being after her demise.
IMO we must at least consider her own concern regarding her own safety as expressed by herself in a tweet in late 2013.

Pat Brown said...

Anon 7:50

No, many do not leave notes regardless of their family connections because, at that moment, they are often not thinking of others (if they were, they would not be committing suicide). Secondly, she expressed that concern two years ago, and, really, it is highly unlikely that anyone would feel a need to knock her off....she was just a tweeter. Finally, there was no sign of violence or force so how did another kill her? And a killer using helium is extraordinarily unlikely. Brenda had mental health issues and was a suicide risk prior to this event. There is zero evidence that points too homicide so it serves no purpose to paint this sad event in such a way.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your analysis Pat. Suicide intent and action is most often a carefully kept secret and so frequently a shock to family and friends.

A terrible tragedy. I hope lessons have been learned but MSM is woefully lacking in ethics, morals, truth and humanity these days.
Strength to Brenda's family and friends.

Anonymous said...

If pooq Brenda had intended to commit suicide she could have more easily and comfortably done so in her own home, where she lived alone excepting for her two tiny dogs (pity not staffs). There would have been no reason to go to so much expense and trouble. Also it was her eldest son`s birthday. Whatever their recent upset, as family they would almost certainly made up at some point. We know from Ben that she was a loving mum. What loving mum would do that on the birthday of one of her offsprings birthday`s? These are only two of the reasons I find suicide the wrong verdict. Nothing to do with an emotional refusal to accept it. Quite simply, common sense, logic (Brenda was also logical), and not least my experiences of various suicidal mindsets. Yes, a need to end a great struggle is one such mindset, but for Brenda who stuck her heals in and spoke up, and had been through far worse even if not high profile problems a couple of times.

I don`t suspect the McCanns did it. They seemed to want her alive and prosecuted. However, if anyone wanted to make them `go quiet` then Brenda`s tragic death did that. So whatever anyone thinks they did or didn`t do in any other matter it really is plain silly to believe they did it. However, there were tweets by some who disliked her clearly intently, such as ``she lives to close to K & G for my liking``, ``only 20 miles away`` and so on. These tweets seemed to be prior to Brenda being shown on msm. The tweets were among many on basil&manuel. I don`t really understand twitter but did see these comments, as must many others. All it would have taken if for one over zealous `supporter` (who may not even know the McCanns) to lure her to that hotel on a pretext of help or information. A nerve hold, bang on the head. The police at the scene stated no obvious signs of cause of death. If helium cans and empty drug packs had really been there, then there would have been obvious signs and thepolice who attended would have said so. They wouldn`t have said the opposite, that there were no obvious signs.

Nonetheless, the fact still is that Brenda died tragically and unecessarily, and she shouldn`t have.
We should all have the deepest most genuine sympathy for her family and those who truly cared for her. We must hope they remember the good things about her, including to be strong for the truth, and that they can and do heal as much as possible and be happy again, and prosper as she would want them to.

Pat Brown said...

Anon 10:07,

You actually provide exactly the proof of what I said happens when, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, I am asked to prove suicide cases are homicide cases. Even after I analyze the case and go through all the evidence that proves it a suicide, the family will then say one or two issues proves it isn't a suicide (like Brenda wouldn't have done it on the eve of a child's birthday or she would have done it at home). This is a lack of understanding how and why people kill themselves and how people murder others. And because of this lack of understanding, the belief that a suicide is a homicide goes on for decades even if ten experts are contracted and all come to the same conclusion.

Brenda committed suicide. There is ZERO evidence of anyone murdering her and, if someone had wanted to murder her, they would have used a method that murderers use and leave evidence that Brenda did not do it herself.

It is interesting in this case that Brenda's family is not arguing the verdict; in fact, it seems they are quite sure it is correct and that means to me, they have had a really long history with Brenda and this suicide was actually not a surprise to them.

Anonymous said...

Brenda Leyland suffered from clinical depression which is very different from 'ordinary' depression. The kind of psychic pain felt by a sufferer of major clinical depression goes beyond what most (lucky) people understand. It is as if every split second of time is an eternity. One does not believe they are of worth to anyone or anything, and that includes children and pets≥ I am sure Brenda knew that someone would attend to her animals. It's erroneous to conclude that an educated woman would write a suicide note. This kind of depression does not discriminate and some sufferers simply don't have the energy or where with all to put pen to paper, or to type even a few words on a computer.

Some people are biologically pre-disposed to depression. Major depression usually occurs in such a person's life after a number of 'stressors'. (ie: Stressful life events etc...) Brenda was self-medicating with her tweets about the McCanns. In some way, this obsessive behaviour acted in a way that numbed her pain.

Suicide usually occurs when a final major 'stressor' occurs - tipping the already unwell person over the edge.

I am from Australia, and the same thing occurred with two Australian radio DJ's. They made a prank phone call to the hospital where Princess Kate was a patient, while pregnant with baby George. They pretended to be members of the Royal Family and asked to be put through to Kate's room. The DJ's thought they would be stopped at reception as their British upper-crust accents were pretty inauthentic. However, they were put through by a nurse who was Indian and who did not notice the 'difference' in their accents and that of the Royals.

The nurse subsequently committed suicide, due to the shame and embarrassment she felt in terms of not protecting Princess Kate. These two DJ's (especially the female one) were devastated. An inquest was held, and for a while, it looked as if they (or the network) could have been criminally charged. However, as in the Brenda Leyland case, it was discovered that this nurse already suffered from major depression and had made previous suicide attempts. Let's not forget that Brenda had also attempted suicide before.

It is nonsense to blame Martin Brunt for Brenda Leyland's death. I believe there are a lot of mentally ill people - on both sides of the 'camp' - involved in the Madeleine McCann case. Anyone who devotes the majority of their time and life to any one subject that really has nothing to do with them, (unless they are being paid), really needs to think about getting help from a mental health professional.

Whatever one thinks about the McCanns, and even 'if' all the very worst things said about them are true - there are still much worse criminals in the world. There are criminals and criminal organisations that destroy the lives of large numbers of children every day. Why focus on one child, especially if you believe that child is dead?

I don't 'buy' the motives of either side of the McCann 'debate' because it seems as if a war exists between the 'pros' and the 'antis' that suggests a level of mental instability and obsession that really has nothing to do with the subject matter.

Anonymous said...

"There are criminals and criminal organisations that destroy the lives of large numbers of children every day."

For example?

And what efforts do you personally take to prevent this?

guerra said...

In the following video police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe says that it was the family who handed over the file containing names of individuals who were cyber bullying. The family Mr. Hogan Howe is referring to is the McCanns.

The reason that people have become obsessed with this case is because they have witnessed the media and public officials engage in a campaign of disinformation and character assassination so that the prevailing story that the child was abducted is maintained and not challenged.
People have reason to believe that this is not just a case about a missing child and thus the continued interest.

"There are criminals and criminal organisations that destroy the lives of large numbers of children every day.Why focus on a child, especially if you feel the child is dead?"

Indeed, but shouldn't your question be addressed to the British government? Why has the British government placed so much importance on this missing child aren't there more serious matters that must be dealt with in Britain?

Prime Minister Cameron recently stated that British children suffered sex abuse on an "industrial scale".

The Home Secretary Theresa May stated that child sex abuse is "woven covertly into the fabric of British society."

Therefore, you are right, there are more serious issues that need to be tackled.

Anonymous said...

Pat - I would accept this as a straightforward suicide but for one fact. The police said there was 'no obvious cause of death'. The inquest said she died of breathing helium. This is achieved by putting a plastic bag over your head (cut for the purpose) and feeding a tube into it so as to exclude oxygen, thereby seeing you off in a few minutes.

My point is, how could all this equipment not be 'obvious'?

If she wasn't wearing any plastic bags/tubes and none were nearby (remember, it wasn't obvious), then I think we can assume she didn't die from inhaling helium, yet the inquest is clear on this. (I hope they don't mean 'must have died from helium because there were cylinders there').

Turning the helium tanks on in a room (however small) simply won't do it. You have to exclude all oxygen, otherwise you'll wake up hours later probably brain damaged.

If the inquest decided it was helium, I hope it wasn't based on just finding the cylinders in the room and assuming it was that (cylinders could have been planted?)

Not wishing to invent a conspiracy where there isn't one, but I think I have a point here.

What's your take on this?

Pat Brown said...

Anon 1:08

I will repeat, there is no evidence of homicide. There is no evidence Brenda was beaten, strangled, abused, restrained, etc. Killing someone and then staging it as a death by helium is only something you will find on television. The cause of death was asphyxiation caused by helium which was present and planned for. I am sure there are explanations for each issue you bring up. I am not sure they were issues, however, for this inquest which was to publicly announce a cause of death, no more. You can make up grand scenario for a brilliant murderer, but there is simply no proof any such murderer exists. Finally, Brenda was suicidal and had a motive to kill herself. It is far more believable that she accomplish her task rather than anything else. To be frank, Brenda is hardly really a target for anyone...what point would it have served to kill her? If she had ever been a thorn in anyone's side, the media did the job of destroying her so no one had any reason to bother with any further abuse. Think about this, seriously; it is just simply nonsense that anyone would bother to murder Brenda.