Love Island Sophie Gradon’s desperate last hours as she reeled from pal’s death

Sophie Gradon was desperately missing her dead friend and was struggling with suicidal thoughts in the hours before her suicide, her inquest heard today.

The 32-year-old Love Island 2016 star, who was found hanged in her parents' living room by her boyfriend Aaron Armstrong and his brother Ryan, had been messaging a friend in the early hours of June 20, 2018.

She was taking medication for social anxiety at the time of her death, and had been diagnosed with depression and low self-esteem in 2013 – three years before she went on the ITV dating show.

In her texts to the male friend, Sophie spoke of her "struggle" with the world and told him she felt suicidal.

Det Sgt Neill Jobling of Northumbria Police told the hearing that Sophie had said she "cannot do this any more" and "I've been to the end and back again".

In another message sent at 01:44 she told her friend: "I would never want to do that to my family but if I could escape I would."

Sophie had also been exchanging "general and loving" texts with Aaron, 25, the day before her suicide.

She was still messaging him at gone 2am, but failed to respond to his texts when he woke later that morning at 11am, prompting him and Ryan to drive to her parents' house to check in on her.

Sadly, they found Sophie's body – and Aaron attempted to save her life by performing 15 minutes of CPR while Ryan rang emergency services.

Sophie had been left reeling by the shock death of her friend Paul 'Conrad' Burns – known as Mr Newcastle thanks to his job as manager of celeb hotspot The Botanist – just 18 days previously.

She'd spoken publicly of her struggle to accept his death and had attended his funeral on June 15, alongside his other friends Vicky Pattison, Marnie Simpson, Charlotte Crosby, Sophie Kasaei, Scott Timlin and Kyle Christie.

Later that same day, Sophie had shared a quote by the poet J Raymond, which read: "I want to live and love recklessly. Fly higher, drive faster, feel too deeply and act on things in spite of fear. I want to be out of control, laugh to no end, meet more strange people, make memories when I'm least expecting it, settle less, and see things that are beautiful and unusual.

"Taste new foods, and fall in love with as many things and people as possible. I want to learn, and I want to question things more. Because, my god, our time to live is limited, and I swear, good enough never is."

Next to it, Sophie had tweeted: "I feel very deep tonight. Reflecting on life & what it means to live."

At her inquest today, coroner Eric Armstrong said there was no evidence of any third party involvement in the reality star's death.

Toxicology tests showed she had a blood alcohol reading of 201mg per 100ml of blood – around three times the legal driving limit, as well as cocaine.

The coroner said research in the US said the combination was known to make someone 16 times more likely to kill themselves.

He said: "If Sophie's death is to serve any purpose at all, that message should go out far and wide."

His conclusion was that: "Sophie Hannah Gradon, having consumed alcohol and cocaine took her own life by hanging."

Aaron took the same dangerous cocktail 20 days after Sophie's suicide , but the coroner ruled in his case that his thinking had become "muddled by the distress of Sophie's death, the distress at having found her, with his brother".

"The consequence of taking alcohol and cocaine together prevented him from thinking rationally about his actions," the same coroner said.

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RIP Sophie Gradon

  • Sophie dies at 32
  • Her depression and anxiety battle
  • Show mate's call for 'better after-care'
  • Sophie's search for love
  • Sassy support she'll be remembered for
  • Joyful last Instagram post
  • Heartbreaking words
  • Sophie's boyfriend dies

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