High-achieving ex Sheffield academic took her life after being haunted by brutal Spanish attack over ten years earlier

Dr Lisa Procter
Dr Lisa Procter

A university academic originally from Sheffield hanged herself over a decade after she was attacked while on holiday in Spain, an inquest heard.

Dr Lisa Procter, who lectured at the school of childhood, youth and education studies at Manchester Metropolitan University, was a respected academic, lecturer and researcher in Sheffield before moving to Manchester for her new job.

An inquest into her death heard she was a 'first class high achiever' who had been assaulted ‘in the most appalling of circumstances’ while on holiday in her 20s.

Bolton Coroner's Court heard she suffered bouts of paranoia and turned to alcohol to cope with memories of the ordeal.

She had been referred to a charity for survivors of sexual violence and had been prescribed various anti-depressants.

Described as a ‘first-class high achiever’ Dr Procter, 36, rang a friend at 2am on November 10 last year saying she was scared ‘people were after her’, the inquest heard.

She was found dead the following day by an estate agent at her newly-purchased quayside apartment in Salford after the same friend couldn’t reach her.

She had hanged herself.

The inquest was told tests showed Dr Procter had a small amount of alcohol in her blood.

Dr Procter was described by colleagues as ‘intelligent and articulate’. She had been working as a lecturer and researcher at the university for 14 months after moving the Manchester from her home city of Sheffield.

Her mother Pamela Procter said she believed the attack on holiday ‘could have been a contributory factor’ to her mental health.

“Whilst on holiday in Spain she was assaulted in the most appalling of circumstances,” she said.

“At that stage I wasn’t aware of any mental health issues, but I think with hindsight this could have been a contributory factor.

“She was a star, a first-class high achiever. She studied architecture at university for seven years. She showed real dedication and obtained a PHD in philosophy at Sheffield. She was a respected academic, lecturer and researcher at Sheffield and followed her career into teaching and education.”

Henry Brunskill, a close friend, said that previously, in January 2017, Dr Procter had a ‘dark period’ and had expressed suicidal thoughts.

He said she had started receiving professional support.

Coroner Timothy Brennand recorded a narrative verdict.

He said Dr Procter had ‘suffered with an element of mental disfunction’ since 2005 and had a history of ‘recurrent depressive disorder’.

“Whilst I am satisfied that this was a deliberate act, her intentions remain unclear,” Mr Brennand said.

“I want to offer my profound condolences to her loving and supportive family and friends who have shown nothing but dignity,” he added.

A tribute on the Manchester Metropolitan University website said: "Lisa brought an incredible energy to all aspects of her teaching and research, deeply affecting students and colleagues with her infectious love of learning and a wild, unbounded curiosity for all things...Lisa was a force of life. Her loss will always be felt and memories of her short time with us at MMU will be entangled with, and continue to inspire our work."

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