A WREXHAM woman who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and refused any treatment took her own life at Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, an inquest has heard.

Pauline Owen, 67, of Wrexham Road, was found in the canal that runs across the aqueduct by a passerby on the morning of March 18, with a bag, jacket and note found nearby on the side of the footpath.

An inquest held at the Guildhall in Wrexham, heard how Ms Owen, who had no next of kin, had been told about the cancer some five weeks earlier, during a routine visit to her GP for an asthma check.

John Gittins, coroner for North Wales (East and Central), told the hearing how a blood test taken at that appointment on February 12 had revealed some liver abnormalities and although not suffering from any obvious symptoms, Ms Owen admitted to Dr Phil Davies about a lump that had developed on her breast some three years before, which she had deliberately concealed from him during previous visits to the surgery.

Upon examining the lump, Dr Davies found the tumour to be fungating from the skin and although he told Ms Owen it would only grow and get worse without surgery and treatment, in a letter sent to him the following day, she informed him of her decision to refuse any medical intervention.

Ms Owen, who had lived in her home for more than 25 years had confided to one of her neighbours about the seriousness of the cancer and although very upset about the diagnosis, went on to say how she “wasn’t worried about death” and “wasn’t prepared to suffer” and would simply “go over the bridge” to end her own life.

At about 8.30am on March 18, Dave Wooding, who was on his daily bike ride to and from the aqueduct, had dismounted his bicycle to walk across the footpath when he noticed what he thought looked like a black bin bag further ahead. On closer inspection, he realised it was a handbag and jacket and when he looked into the canal, he noticed a body.

Along with another member of the public, Christopher Lee Smith, who had found a note at another location, they managed to notify the police, who arrived on the scene shortly before 9am.

Mr Gittins explained how the note found at the scene made it very clear Ms Owen had intended to take her own life and even contained instructions asking for it to be given to her solicitor in the event of her death as she had no next of kin.

A post mortem examination carried out on Ms Owen’s body by Dr Huyam Abdel Salam revealed that she had drowned as a result of immersion in water and Mr Gittins reached a conclusion of suicide.