This was one of NZH Lifestyle's top stories for 2017

A mother of seven took her own life while at home with her children and husband after she discovered she was pregnant again.

Carla Murtagh, from Shard End, Birmingham, had booked an abortion for October 28 but later changed her mind and decided to keep the baby.

Nine days later the 34-year-old, who had a history of depression, was found hanged by her distraught husband Matthew who went upstairs to look for her after he thought she was "acting quiet".


Mrs Murtagh was rushed to Heartlands Hospital by paramedics who failed resuscitate her, Birmingham Coroner's Court was told, according to the Daily Mail.

Doctors then performed an emergency caesarean on Mrs Murtagh, who was 25 weeks pregnant at the time, but the baby was stillborn.

A short time later she was pronounced dead by medics.

On the day of her death husband Mr Murtagh described how she had woken up in a 'bad mood', but had otherwise seemed fine.

Mrs Murtagh had started to cook a meal as the family was celebrating a birthday that day.

He had left the house with two of their children to buy a birthday cake from the supermarket.

When they returned, he said Mrs Murtagh had gone upstairs and was 'acting quiet'.

"'She went upstairs and told me that she wanted to be left alone," he said.

"I went downstairs to dish up the dinner and went up to get her." He found his wife hanged in the bedroom and called for help.

He attempted CPR as paramedics arrived, and Mrs Murtagh was taken by ambulance to Heartlands Hospital.

The inquest heard how she and Mr Murtagh already had seven children, aged between 15 years and 14 months.

They had been 'shocked' to find Mrs Murtagh was pregnant again in August 2016 and wanted an abortion.

Mrs Murtagh, from Shard End, Birmingham, had booked an abortion but changed her mind. Photo / Facebook
Mrs Murtagh, from Shard End, Birmingham, had booked an abortion but changed her mind. Photo / Facebook

"We were shocked because it wasn't planned," said husband Matthew. "She considered having an abortion because we already had so many children.

"She was upset, and we were discussing how we were going to have another baby."

Mrs Murtagh, who suffered with conditions including depression, consulted her GP at the end of August about her pregnancy and told him she wanted an abortion.

After being referred to the BPAS termination service, she was only able to get appointments in Liverpool or Doncaster.

But on October 28 Mrs Murtagh was visited by midwife Donna Grey, who was able to arrange an appointment for her at a Marie Stopes clinic in Birmingham.

"When I went to her home that day she was very upset,' said the midwife.

"She wanted a termination. She was very unsure about her dates of the pregnancy.

"I spoke to Marie Stopes and they could offer her an appointment. After the consultation she said: 'Thank you. You've given me what I've been asking for, for a long time.'"

But when the midwife saw Mrs Murtagh again on November 4, two days before her death, she found she had missed the appointment after deciding to have the baby after all.

"She told me they'd had a family discussion and decided to keep the baby," Ms Grey said.

"She seemed happy, and wanted to get an appointment for a scan."

A post-mortem examination later revealed the mother-of-seven had alcohol, cannabis and antidepressant fluoxetine in her blood, a combination that could result in Central Nervous System Depression.

Following Ms Murtagh's death, the local Clinical Commissioning Group launched an investigation into her care, but no failures were found on the part of her GP or midwives.

Giving a verdict of suicide, Coroner Louise Hunt said: 'This is a tragedy, and for the family I am so very sorry. It is very sad and you have had to sit through some difficult evidence.

"In time I hope you can remember the Carla you all loved and not in the sad way that she lost her life."

Where to get help:

Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
Youthline: 0800 376 633
Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
Samaritans 0800 726 666
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.