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Norwich woman’s last moments recorded on CCTV, inquest told

PUBLISHED: 13:45 22 April 2014 | UPDATED: 13:45 22 April 2014

Norfolk's coroner Jacqueline Lake gave a narrative conclusion at today's inquest. 

Norfolk's coroner Jacqueline Lake gave a narrative conclusion at today's inquest. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Archant Norfolk

A cafe owner whose body was found by members of a rowing team was seen on CCTV footage several hours earlier lowering herself into the River Wensum outside her apartment, an inquest heard.

Samantha Raven’s body was found in the River Yare at Whitlingham Lane, Trowse just after 8am on January 10.

An inquest in Norwich today heard that the 47-year-old, from River Heights, Wherry Road, Norwich was seen on CCTV sitting by the river and then lowering herself into the water between 2am and 3am.

The inquest heard that Miss Raven, who ran a cafe in Hall Road in Norwich, had a history of mental health issues and had been hospitalised following an overdose when she was 18.

On the day before she died she had gone into the cafe she owned but the manager Tony Dunthorne said she was not her normal self and did not stay to talk to customers.

She later phoned Mr Dunthorne to ask for help, before hanging up.

She also phoned her father, who was at the inquest, and her aunt. Her aunt believed she was in a “manic” state on the phone, although her father just believed her to be “confused”.

Sam Bence, rowing coach for the UEA, told the inquest that they called the police after spotting Miss Raven’s body in the water.

DC Lisa Gough, who investigated the incident, said: “She can be seen on CCTV at the back of her apartment to approach the river, sit down at the riverside and get into the river. There was no evidence of foul play and we concluded she had taken her own life.”

The cause of death was given as drowning.

Norfolk coroner Jacqueline Lake recorded a narrative conclusion that Miss Raven “took her own life while the balance of her mind was disturbed”.

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