A Portuguese woman had sent her close friend an email informing him of her death three hours before emergency services found her body. Beatriz Santos, 25, had written “When you read this email, I’ll have passed away already”, as she placed a three-hour delayed timer on the email.
Police were called shortly before 9pm and rushed to her property on Barrington Road, E12, but she was tragically pronounced dead at the scene. An inquest today (Wednesday, March 9) at Waltham Forest Coroners Court heard that she was discovered “lifeless” within the property after hanging herself from the stairway bannisters.
Two Met officers were first alerted to the welfare enquiry after receiving a redirected call from Hertfordshire Police at 8:35pm on September 2, 2021. A male called Raj had phoned to say he had received an email from Beatriz stating her intention to kill herself and that there was a three hour delay. It also mentioned “an upstairs window being left open for access”, and that she would be deceased by the time any emergency services arrived.
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After arriving at the property, the officers decided to use force to gain entry and found the house in darkness. By shining a torchlight into the hallway, PC Phillip Hare could see “the lifeless body of a female hanging over the stairway”, and she was cold to the touch as rigor mortis had begun to set in. London Ambulance Service paramedics had rushed to the scene but sadly, Beatriz was pronounced dead at 9:15pm, with no other signs of injury on her body.
Police managed to confirm her identity after finding a Portuguese ID card in a cupboard, and they established that the death was non-suspicious. In a statement read aloud by the Coroner, her friend Raj Babbra said he had been with his partner and children at Harry Potter’s World when he had received the email, and had been in “complete shock”.
He had been friends with Beatriz for a few months after giving her business advice, and had not noticed anything unusual in her behaviour in the weeks leading up to her death. A few days beforehand, she had mentioned a desire to purchase a gun, after she had visited a friend who had one in his possession. She told Raj she had felt “thrilled” whilst holding it and had enquired about gun regulations, but this conversation then came to an end.
Speaking of the impact of her death, he said he had taken off work for the weekend and that her death had “affected” his family. He said: “I hardly spoke for the next two days as I was feeling so lost in my thoughts about what had happened.
“I cannot think of anything she had said or done that would indicate she was going to commit suicide,” he continued. In her suicide note, Beatriz had reassured him that she “was not influenced” by any third parties to commit suicide, and thanked him for being a good friend.
She wrote: “I want you to know that you were fantastic, it was a pleasure meeting you. Before you read on, know that this message was scheduled to be sent three hours later. I honestly want you to read this until the end before you proceed with further action, so every detail is properly given. When you read this email, I’ll have passed away already.
“I am sorry, I mean what I say when sometimes emptiness has no explanation. I don’t have a small intellect, so I hope you make the effort to understand – there are many countries that allow it and it is legal to commit suicide in certain circumstances. I decided I would not suffer anymore.”
Beatriz’s mother had also contributed an emotional statement to the inquest, which was read aloud by the coroner. She described her daughter as a “healthy, attentive and smart” child with an interest in cooking, photography and music. She was praised for having plenty of friends and having “new plans and ideas” wherever she went.
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Speaking of the final time she saw Beatriz, she said: “The last time I was with Beatriz was in October 20, 2019, I dropped her off at the airport to leave for the UK. She was happy, radiant and had the work contract in a textile factory. She was going to live in England and she couldn’t be happier, confident that it was going to work out because she had a job. She went at 00:45hours in the morning – the last kiss, the last hug, she smiled and my heart squeezed.”
A statement from the GP showed that Beatriz had made no appointments to discuss her mental health and toxicology reports showed she was not under the influence of any drugs or alcohol. Following a post-mortem examination, her death was ruled as 1a) suspension. Before offering her condolences to the family, Coroner Nadia Persaud told the court: “I am satisfied on the balance of probabilities that she intended to bring about her death.”