Paramedic, 23, took own life after being shamed for littering outside her home

A "well-loved" young paramedic took her own life during lockdown after she was shamed on Facebook for littering by a member of the public, an inquest has heard.

Charlotte Cope, from Gelli, in Rhondda Cynon Taf, South Wales, was found dead at her family home in April 2020.

The 23-year-old, who worked for the Welsh Ambulance Service, was snapped by a member of the public who claimed she had seen her littering outside her home just a day before her death.

Photos of Miss Cope, who was heading to a night shift at the time, were uploaded to social media of her standing outside her car next to food waste and packaged food items.

She was told about the post targeting her by her line manager at Gelli Ambulance Station and admitted wrongdoing while saying she would pay whatever fine was issued.

However, by the time she woke the next day the post had been shared hundreds of times, according to her family.

"That is what pushed her over the edge," Miss Cope's mother, Heidi Cope, said following a hearing at South Wales Central Coroner's Court.

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Mrs Cope said: "I believe she would be here today if it wasn't for that post.

"She loved her family, her job, and the gym. She'd recently bought a car, booked to go on holiday with her friends, and got concert tickets to see Pink live. She had everything to live for."

The inquest was told that Miss Cope was a happy child who was enthusiastic about sports, becoming Welsh judo champion three times.

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But, in 2012, at the age of 15, she developed anorexia and spent several weeks in hospital undergoing treatment for the disorder.

She went on to study health and social care in college and attended Plymouth University to train to be a paramedic, joining the Welsh Ambulance Service in 2018 and was said to have "loved her job".

Despite this, Miss Cope continued to suffer with her mental health and family members said they believed she had never recovered from her eating disorder.

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On the day she died on April 13, Miss Cope was said to have appeared "normal" but was found dead by her mother at around 8.30pm.

Paramedics who attended Mrs Cope's 999 call were colleagues and friends of Miss Cope and in statements read out at the hearing said how "shocked" they were, as they described her as "popular and well-loved".

A message found on Miss Cope's body directed family members to look at the notes she had written on her phone.

The notes said she wanted the "horrendous" and "disturbing" thoughts in her head to stop before repeatedly saying she was sorry.

Recording the cause of death as suicide, Assistant coroner Rachel Knight said: "I want to say how truly sorry I am for the loss of Charlotte. It is obvious to me how much you loved her, and how much she is missed."

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Following the hearing, Mrs Cope said she believed the Facebook post had contributed to her daughter's death.

She added: "That day she woke up to find the post had been shared hundreds of times and the messages being written about her were vile and she was too embarrassed.

"I just want people to realise what a dangerous and nasty place Facebook can be, and what they post can have an impact on someone and their family."

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