Bullied to death? Channel 4 executive died of overdose 'after abuse by bosses'


Click to follow
The Independent Online

A Channel 4 executive took a fatal drugs overdose after being "systematically bullied" by her bosses, a coroner heard today.

Sarah Mulvey, 34, who made programmes such as Brat Camp and How To Look Good Naked, fell into a state of "acute stress" after difficulties at work.

The Oxford graduate sought treatment at the £10,000-a-week Causeway Retreat at Osea island in Essex, used by celebrities such as Amy Winehouse, but suffered a severe decline. She is believed to have obtained the drugs that killed her during her stay.

Her father, Sussex University maths lecturer Dr Christopher Mulvey, today told her inquest that her treatment at the retreat had "made matters worse".

When asked why she had gone to the clinic, Dr Mulvey said: "She had been systematically bullied by her bosses at Channel 4." But he was stopped by St Pancras coroner Dr Andrew Reid, who said that Channel 4 had not been listed as interested parties, although it was recognised that Ms Mulvey was off sick from work and in redundancy and grievance negotiations with her bosses.

Ms Mulvey's boyfriend, Mark Gillett, vice-president of engineering at Skype, said she was suffering stress since early 2008 as a result of the "unpredictable and aggressive working situation" she experienced at Channel 4.

Mr Gillett returned from a business trip to Prague on January 28 last year, the day Ms Mulvey's body was found, to discover the door of their Hampstead flat had been kicked in. Notes scattered around the home included one telling him that she loved him and one asking not to be resuscitated, the court heard.

The Causeway Retreat closed last year after a series of damning reports into the quality of its care. Brendan Quinn, a registered nurse and director of the clinic, denied that Ms Mulvey had "stockpiled" the drugs she overdosed on when at the clinic.

A Channel 4 spokesman said: “In March 2009 Sarah Mulvey brought a grievance which was fully investigated in accordance with Channel 4's procedures and not upheld. Since Sarah’s tragic death in January 2010 we have worked closely with the Mulvey family to support them and to celebrate Sarah’s career and achievements. We feel very deeply for Sarah’s family and partner at this difficult time and, as the inquest has been adjourned until 2012, it is not appropriate to comment further at this time.”

The hearing continues.