‘Exceptionally brilliant’ British academic, 33, jumped to her death after her estranged Danish husband barred her from seeing their baby daughter
A British academic who had worked for the World Health Organisation jumped from a balcony after she was prevented from seeing her baby daughter, an inquest heard today.
Oxford-educated Felicity Frederiksen was separated from her baby after her estranged husband, Henrik Frederiksen, took the little girl to his native Denmark.
An inquest into the 33-year-old’s death heard she could not face the prospect of being apart from her daughter and jumped from a balcony in Copenhagen after leaving notes for her family.
Felicity Frederiksen took her own life after her husband took their baby to his native Denmark
Ms Frederiksen spoke four languages and got a scholarship to study at the University of Oxford when she was just 17 years old.
She met her husband through a dating app while she was on a secondment in Denmark as part of her sociology PhD at the University of Edinburgh.
He proposed to her via Skype after she moved back to the UK and was four months pregnant when the pair were married in Malaysia in July 2015.
But the couple fell out after the baby was born and the inquest heard Mr Frederiksen had threatened his wife with legal action to declare her an ‘incompetent mother’ and denying her access to the baby.
The 33-year-old could not face life without her little daughter, an inquest heard
The coroner read an email from Ms Frederiksen’s father, Oliver Bulmer, which said: ‘He had effectively abducted their daughter and coerced her to give up rights.’
Mr Bulmer described his daughter as ‘exceptionally brilliant and talented’, but the inquest heard she had battled anorexia and bipolar disorder for most of her life.
A note she left before her death read: ‘I am sorry, but life without [my daughter] is too painful. No-one can understand until they have lost a child as I have and been through what I have. I love you all, Felicity.’
Psychiatrist Dr Mike McPhillips, who had worked with Ms Frederiksen, told the hearing: ‘She had extremely poor self esteem, she was extremely passive and submissive in her close relationships.
‘She was in isolation in Denmark and having her daughter taken from her, Felicity was clearly a very vulnerable person and in increased risk of suicide.
‘I am sorry to note that her marriage was a very unhappy one, the main consolation in it was the birth of her daughter, who she doted on.’
At the end of the inquest in Hatfield, Hertfordshire Coroner Geoffrey Sullivan recorded a verdict of suicide.
A coroner found she took her own life as the separation ‘exacerbated mental health problems’
The coroner said: ‘She was diagnosed really from her teens onwards with depression and poor self esteem.
‘It seems she was in regular contact with her psychiatrist and a very supportive family, who she spoke to regularly, but that in the period leading up to her death her marriage was breaking down and her husband, a Danish national, had taken their daughter to Denmark and was refusing access to her.
‘This exacerbated her existing mental health problems, it would seem leading her to fall from the balcony on her apartment building in Denmark.’