A 55-year-old woman whose body was found in the River Thames in Marlow after a two week search took her own life after becoming increasingly anxious and “paranoid”, an inquest into her death heard this week.

Ruth Smith, who was born in High Wycombe and lived in Windsor, was reported missing on April 25 this year after she was last seen in the afternoon at the river, near St Peter’s Street.

Search and rescue teams scoured the River Thames for almost two weeks, before Mrs Smith's body was found on May 7.

Senior coroner for Buckinghamshire Crispin Butler heard Mrs Smith had suffered from anxiety and was becoming increasingly paranoid in the weeks leading up to her death.

Police said they were concerned after they found notes in the maths teacher’s car and on her phone following her disappearance which suggested she was anxious and “quite anxious and depressed”.

And her friend Yvette Richards said in a statement read out to the court by coroner’s officer Annabelle West that Mrs Smith had been having a “really tough time” because she was worried about her sons.

She said: “Worrying about her sons became irrational, obsessive and destructive.

“Her mental health declined very quickly over the last month.”

Mrs Smith stayed with Ms Richards the day before she went missing, telling her she had had suicidal thoughts but would not act on them as she needed to look after her children.

Mrs Smith’s husband Martin said she had been worried about going back to school after the holidays, telling the school she was suffering from anxiety and would need to go off sick.

He said she went to see her GP who prescribed beta blockers and reportedly told her the type of anxiety she was suffering was “quite normal” and that they would not be able to sign her off for it.

She returned to work for a couple of days before going off sick again.

Mr Smith said: “She went back to the doctor and was told the same thing as before. They told her to keep taking the prescribed medication and give it some time to work.

“On that Saturday she was up and down in her mood. By Monday her state had worsened.”

He said before she left for Ms Richards’ house, she told him he had given her the “best 21 years of my life”.

Witness Sebastian Fitzjohn said he saw Mrs Smith when he was parked up in Pound Lane going towards the river, followed a few yards away by a mystery man, and then returning around 10 minutes later.

He said: “She stopped near my car and looked directly through the car windscreen with a blank look.

“She looked wet and shaken up. She looked at me for around five to 10 seconds, then continued up towards the river.

“The male was still following her a few paces behind.”

But Ed Harper, manager of the nearby Two Brewers pub, said he too saw Mrs Smith by the river while he was in a meeting, but did not mention seeing a man following her.

He said in his statement that as soon as the meeting finished, he went to the river to look for Mrs Smith but only found her coat and handbag on a bench nearby.

CCTV footage also showed Mrs Smith walking along St Peter’s Street and then sitting at the bench at Marlow Lock for just over 10 minutes.

Mr Butler recorded a conclusion of suicide, saying: “There is certainly evidence which shows that Ruth is likely to have entered the water intentionally in Marlow on the 25th of April and this was against a background of recent increasing anxiety and suicidal thoughts.

“I am satisfied on the balance of probabilities that Ruth entered the water intentionally and intended to end her life by entering the river.”

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