16 June 2022

Before HM Coroner Peter Harrowing
Avon Coroner's Court (or remote access)*
Opens Monday 20 June 2022
Scheduled for two weeks

Jess Durdy, 27, died a self-inflicted death whilst resident at a crisis house for women with mental ill health on 16 October 2020. Jess was an NHS funded resident at Link House for five days before her death. She had been under the care of Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, who have been involved in a number of other recent contentious self-inflicted deaths.  

Jess was originally from North London but moved to Bristol to study when she was 18. After graduating Jess worked in Bangladesh in an irrigation infrastructure project with the charity Engineers Without Borders. She moved back to Bristol in 2016 and was working in a graduate civil engineer training scheme.

Her family describe Jess as a dearly loved bright, sparky and caring child. They are hugely proud of Jess, of the kind, loving, generous and loyal person she was, of her intelligence and her enquiring mind.

Jess had a history of mental ill health since her teens, including diagnoses of anxiety, depressive disorder and bulimia. Despite this, her family say she always wore a smile and often hid her struggles. During the pandemic she was less able to see her family in London. This made her deteriorating mental health less visible to loves ones.

Jess approached her GP for additional support in June 2020 and was under the care of Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust. She was prescribed medication for her mental health but found the effects extremely difficult to tolerate, and had requested a medication review.

By October 2020, her health further declined and she was referred by the Trust to Link House. This crisis house is run by Missing Link, a Housing Association with charitable status, with places commissioned by the local Clinical Commissioning Group for the NHS. Staff at the house are support workers, not qualified medical professionals.

On the day before she died, Jess had disclosed to Link House staff that she felt suicidal and wanted to end her life. The following day, staff were carrying out informal welfare checks and discovered her door was blocked and Jess was not responding. Paramedics were called, broke down the door, and upon entering found that she had ligatured. CPR was commenced but Jess was pronounced dead.

The family hope the inquest will consider:

  • The rationale for referring Jess to Link House and suitability of the placement
  • Management and escalation of risks of residents at Link House
  • Medication support
  • Communication with the family and friends prior to Jess’ death
  • Emergency calls and emergency response


For further information, a photo and to note your interest, please contact Lucy McKay on [email protected]

*Journalists should contact the coroner’s court to request remote access or attend Avon Coroner’s Court, Coroner’s Court, Old Weston Road, Flax Bourton, Bristol BS48 1UL

Jess’ family are represented by INQUEST Lawyers Group members Gemma Vine of Ison Harrison Solicitors and Ciara Bartlam of Garden Court North Chambers. They are supported by INQUEST caseworker Jodie Anderson.

Other Interested persons represented are Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, Link House, South Western Ambulance Service and Avon and Somerset Constabulary.

Journalists should refer to the Samaritans Media Guidelines for reporting suicide and self-harm and guidance for reporting on inquests.

Other recent cases:                                                             

  • Zoe Wilson was 22 years old when she died a self-inflicted death whilst a voluntary patient in a mental health ward on 19 June 2019. The jury inquest into her death found multiple failings by Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust (AWP) contributed. See media release, January 2022.
  • Alexandra Greenway, a 23 year old transgender woman from Bristol, died on 11 May 2019 whilst under the care of AWP. There was evidence of issues around a lack of access to treatment, including following a suicide attempt the month before her death. Despite the evidence, the coroner did not make critical findings. See media release, October 2020.
  • Luke Naish was 28 years old when he died in hospital on 2 October 2018, three days after he was found hanging. Luke had both psychosis and substance misuse issues and was under the care of community mental health run by AWP. Despite concerning evidence, the coroner did not criticise the issues with the care and support prior to his death. See media release, February 2021
  • Natasha Abrahart was a 22 year old student at Bristol University when she died a self-inflicted death in 2018. She had been under the care of AWP and an inquest found neglect contributed to her death. See media release, May 2019.