Woman 'killed herself because she thought her hair was turning ginger'

 

A young office worker upset about her hair was found hanging in woodland, an inquest heard on Monday.

Frances Warren, 26, was worried that her long blonde locks looked "yellow" or "ginger" and was desperate for a hairdresser to sort it out.

Avon Coroner's Court heard that immediately after an appointment with a hairdresser at her home in Thornbury, South Gloucestershire she disappeared - leaving her purse and handbag behind.

Two days later on May 31 last year police found her body 80 miles away in dense woodland in Sedgley, West Midlands.

Officers had been searching the area off Hickmerelands Lane after her silver Honda Civic car was recovered nearby with her mobile phone left on the dashboard.

Miss Warren had seen her GP a couple of weeks earlier reporting symptoms of anxiety and stress and had been offered anti-depressants and had referred herself to a counselling service.

The inquest was attended by Miss Warren's parents family and boyfriend.

Miss Warren and her boyfriend had been living together in a rented two-bed house in Bradley Stoke, near Bristol, but in December 2012 had returned to live with the respective parents in order to save money to go travelling for six months and then buy a house.

Det Con Sue Pesticcio, of Avon and Somerset Police, said that on May 28 - the day before Miss Warren's disappearance - she was upset about her hair.

"Marjorie describes Frances as not being herself again. She was fretting about her hair again," Det Con Pesticcio said.

"All of a sudden she wasn't happy with it saying it was ginger and her whole world was falling apart.

"She said things like wishing she was dead, she hated how she looked, she appeared to have lost all confidence and her appearance was everything."

On May 29, Miss Warren told her mother she was not going to work because she had been sick in the night and was still feeling unwell. Her parents went to work, leaving her in bed.

Det Con Pesticcio told the hearing that Miss Warren repeatedly texted hairdresser Kelly Hill asking her to come to her home and look at her hair.

"Kelly stated that overnight she had received about 50 text messages from Frances wanting her to look at her hair, so Kelly went round to see her," Det Con Sue Pesticcio said.

"However, Frances was not happy with the result - she was angry and wanted it changed.

"Kelly told Frances she would do her hair again but was unable to do it at that time because of another appointment.

"Kelly told Marjorie there had been nothing wrong with her hair."

Det Con Pesticcio said that the hairdresser and Miss Warren both left her home shortly before 4pm on May 29.

Miss Hill said in a statement read to the court that her first contact with Miss Warren was on May 19 when she received a call asking her to look at her hair because it had been cut the day before by another hairdresser and she was not happy with it.

"I was not doing hair that day as it was a Sunday but she seemed so desperate to get it sorted out so I said I would come around," she said.

"Her hair was very blonde and it didn't look like she needed anything done but she wanted highlights underneath and said it was yellow.

"As I was doing her hair she wouldn't speak to me and said she was too nervous. While waiting for the colour to take she walked around smoking and appeared nervous.

"When I finished her hair she wanted me to take photos of it in every room so that she could see what it was like in different light. She was in my house for around three hours before she left.

"About two hours later she returned and said it was still yellow underneath and I offered to put more highlights in.

"Later that evening she called my phone and said she wanted more highlights as her hair was still yellow.

"I told her I couldn't put anymore in but offered to put a toner on her hair to see if it would help."

Miss Hill said that prior to the final appointment on May 29 Miss Warren had "continuously called" and she resorted to leaving her phone in the car while at appointments.

"She seemed alright and joked that I must have thought she was mad," Miss Hill said.

"She just wanted something done to get rid of the yellow and said she wanted to go dark instead. I told her I could put a toner on, which she could wash out if she didn't like the colour.

"I did warn her that it would look black to her because she was already so white from the bleach. Once I finished her hair she looked in the mirror and said she hated it.

"She started to shake and appeared very stressed and freaked out by the look. I assured her it was not permanent and it would wash out.

"She then asked me to bleach her hair but I said I couldn't.

"All of a sudden her mood changed and she became very calm and told me she just needed to go for a drive.

"I did say to wait a few weeks and I would look at doing something with it. I did not hear from her again but I was surprised because in the two previous weeks she had been in constant contact."

Miss Hill added: "I know people can be very particular about their hair but Frances couldn't just see what everyone else saw.

"Her hair was as white as it could go but she was still positive it was yellow. I only put toner on to try and help her."

Miss Warren had also sent text messages to friends fretting about her hair.

Victoria McCullough told the hearing in a statement: "I can recall her ringing me and telling me it had gone orange, crying and telling me 'It's gone ginger, hasn't it?'.

"I know she had her hair done for the third time and I said it looked really nice but I know she wasn't happy.

"During this conversation I recall her saying 'I don't want to be here' but not for one moment did I think she was suicidal."

On May 27, Miss Warren texted Miss McCullough, saying: "Vic, I can't, I just want to be dead. I really mean it. Do you want to get back with him?"

"I was slightly confused because she talked about death then asked about my personal life," Miss McCullough said.

"She then said 'I really don't feel good about anything Vic, it's all taking its toll with my hair and I can't cope."

Miss McCullough added that she never thought her friend would take her own life over her hair and "truly believed there must have been something else".

The inquest heard that Miss Warren was reported missing by her parents that evening and she was found dead two days later. The inquest heard there was no evidence she had left a note.

A post mortem examination found Miss Warren had died from hanging.

Terrence Moore, Assistant Coroner for Avon, recorded a conclusion that Miss Warren had taken her own life.

He said: "She described herself as obsessing about her hair and I suppose the number of calls and texts she made and the number of changes she made and the efforts she made to get her hair changed... maybe she wasn't wrong that there was something she felt very strongly about.

"She felt very strongly about it and by May 29 she clearly wasn't happy. Interestingly Kelly Hill said she was calm and not at all stressed. She had got into her car and drove off.

"She presented to the doctors and the psychological services as someone who was clearly depressed and anxious but not someone who was at high risk of self-harm.

"I have to say that I am at a loss to identify what it was that changed. I think in the circumstances I can be satisfied without any reasonable doubt that she took her own life."

PA

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff
tv

Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Arts and Entertainment
tv

Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife
film

Matt Smith is set to join cast of the Jane Austen classic - with a twist

Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmWhat makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes hobby look 'dysfunctional'
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Year 1 Teachers needed for day to day roles

£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Pr...

Primary General Cover Teachers needed

£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Pr...

Year 2 Teachers needed for day to day roles

£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Ye...

PPA Cover Teacher

£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Pr...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week