'Bubbly' former cafe owner remembered by daughter after inquest

Terry O'Neill

Terry O'Neill, 56, who lived in Overstrand, took her own life after suffering a series of setbacks. - Credit: Supplied by family

A former cafe owner who took her own life has been described by her daughter as an "outgoing" and "bubbly" woman who tried to exceed in everything she did. 

Terry O’Neill, 56, was found dead in a caravan near her home on Cromer Road in Overstrand on March 4 this year. 

An inquest into her death held on Tuesday (December 14) heard she had a history of depression and had been upset at the loss of her café and the breakdown of her marriage. 

Terry O'Neill

Terry O'Neill has been described by her daughter as a "bubbly, outgoing" woman who tried to exceed in everything she did. - Credit: Supplied by family

Mrs O’Neill had run the Funky Mackerel cafe on Sheringham's seafront until it closed in 2018. The cafe later reopened in Station Approach, but closed early last year. 

In read evidence her mother Jane Overton said there was "a lot going on in [Mrs O'Neill's] life that caused her upset".

Her marriage had broken down and after the café closed she worked as a hotel receptionist but was made redundant after lockdown.

Mrs O'Neill then started working in a care home in Mundesley but did not enjoy the job.

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On the morning of her death, she told her mother she was going for a walk.

"She didn’t seem particularly low, just like she was in a hurry," Mrs Overton said.

Kevin James O’Neill, brother of the deceased, said that six months previously she had attempted to take her own life but her son found her and called an ambulance. 

He said his sister seemed subdued the night before her death and the next day he got worried when she did not return from her walk.

After searching outside he found her in a caravan.

Terry O’Neill outside Sheringham's Funky Mackerel

Terry O’Neill outside Sheringham's Funky Mackerel, a cafe she ran with her family until 2018. Picture: STUART ANDERSON - Credit: Archant

Menkius Edwards, a mental health nurse, said in November 2020, Mrs O'Neill spoke of her difficulties.

Yvonne Blake, area coroner for Norfolk, recorded a conclusion of suicide. 

Speaking after the inquest, Mrs O'Neill's daughter Robyn Holman, 34, said the death was a "tragedy" and described her mother as "a strong, outgoing person".

"When she put her mind to something, she always tried to excel in it. She put her all into the Funky Mackerel.

"She was a bubbly, smiley person, fun to be around, very quick-witted."

If you need help or support, contact Samaritans on 116 123 or Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust’s First Response helpline on 0808 196 3494 both 24/7.

Alternatively download the Stay Alive app, which is backed by Suffolk User Forum, if you are having thoughts of suicide or if you are concerned about someone else.

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