Cambridgeshire

Emma Brown: Runner who battled anorexia 'wished to live'

Emma Brown Image copyright Brown Family
Image caption Emma Brown had been predicted to be an A-star student before anorexia took over her life

An Olympic hopeful who struggled with anorexia for more than a decade "did not wish to die", a coroner has said.

Emma Brown, 27, was found dead in her flat in Cambourne, near Cambridge, by her mother in August 2018.

The inquest into the runner's death heard how a combination of anorexia and a personality disorder made treatment "exceedingly challenging".

Coroner Sean Horstead said those involved in her care had "communicated in an appropriate and thorough way".

A post-mortem examination gave Miss Brown's cause of death as lung and heart disease, with anorexia and bulimia nervosa as contributory factors.

Miss Brown's father, Simon, described how his daughter's illness was a "descent into hell". He said she would steal money from the family to spend in restaurants in Cambridge, then make herself sick.

Image copyright Brown Family
Image caption Simon Brown said it was almost "indescribable" seeing his daughter get sicker and sicker

Mr Horstead said the combination of both diagnoses meant Miss Brown could "exploit and adapt strategies that would have the objective of sabotage to the treatment she wanted and needed".

On 20 August 2018 she left Addenbrooke's Hospital against medical advice but attended a GP appointment the following day

She told the GP about "looking forward to continuing to live", citing her relationship with her father, but was found dead a day later.

Mr Horstead said: "Emma did not wish to die. She wished to live... that is the tragic tension."

Miss Brown's GP, Dr Richard Wilson, told the inquest that it was the most severe case of anorexia he had seen in 30 years.

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, which provides eating disorder support services, said it was working to enhance adult community treatment.

"We are grateful to Emma's parents for the helpful and constructive feedback they have already given us about improving services and for their supportive comments about the work of our dedicated clinical teams before and during the course of the inquest," he said.

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