Snowdon's lover killed herself while depressed

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Lord Snowdon's former lover, Ann Hills, killed herself with a massive overdose of paracetamol washed down with wine, an inquest heard yesterday.

The 55-year-old divorced mother-of-two probably committed suicide "on the spur of the moment" because she was depressed at her inability to have long-lasting relationships with men, Westminster Coroner's Court was told.

The body of Mrs Hills was found by her father Elliott Philipp, 81, on the roof of her flat in the West End of London on the afternoon of New Year's Day.

Police were called by friends who were concerned they could not contact Mrs Hills, a freelance journalist. Despite an extensive search they failed to find her body, which was hidden by a chimney. Her father found her body in a kneeling position later that day.

Her brother, Alan Philipp, told the inquest that Mrs Hills had been divorced since 1981. She had worked hard and was quite successful but although she had many friends, her inability to secure lasting male friendships may have made her concerned about her future happiness, he said.

Dr Paul Knapman, the coroner, said Mrs Hills spent Christmas in Norfolk with her ex-husband and sons.

Professor Patrick Pietroni, Mrs Hills' GP, said she had spoken of her unhappiness at times but had never exhibited signs of depression and he had never prescribed medication for this.

Mrs Hills had taken "a very substantial overdose of paracetamol" as well as the tranquilliser Temazepam in a therapeutic amount with the equivalent of two glasses of wine, a pathologist, Dr Ian Hill, said.