Broadcaster's housekeeper 'killed herself after raid': Victim of robbery ordeal jumped from road bridge

POLICE in the Irish Republic are treating as suicide the death at the weekend of the 34-year-old housekeeper of Professor Anthony Clare, the prominent psychiatrist and broadcaster, four days after she was terrorised in a raid at his home.

Audrey Lett, who is thought to have had a history of mental illness, died on Saturday after jumping 130 feet from a road bridge spanning the Liffey valley near Dublin. Last Tuesday she was held captive for two hours during the robbery at the psychiatrist's west Dublin home.

Mrs Lett, her daughter Hannah, aged two, and Professor Clare's wife, Jane, and their daughter, Justine, 10, were threatened while two men ransacked the house. Mrs Clare was hit on the head and legs with the flat face of a machete and threatened with a hockey stick before being tied up with electric cable and locked in an upstairs cupboard.

The raiders escaped in her Peugeot car with IR pounds 5,000 worth of jewellery including Mrs Clare's engagement ring, a video recorder and hi-fi equipment. Before leaving they locked Mrs Lett and the two children into the cupboard with Mrs Clare. They were released two hours later when Mrs Lett's husband, Eric, arrived at the house.

Her white Metro car was found parked at the end of the West Link Bridge from close to where she jumped. She leaves two children.

A 19-year-old man from Clondalkin, south-west Dublin, has been charged with robbery.

Professor Clare is best known for his popular series In the Psychiatrist's Chair, broadcast on BBC Radio 4, in which he interviews celebrity 'patients'. His deceptively genial probing on occasion reached uncomfortably deep into the private lives of his famous 'patients', from the actress Sarah Miles to the DJ Jimmy Savile. This clinical incision into past trauma or present insecurity made irresistible listening with listeners apparently admitted as eavesdroppers.