Sophie Gradon: Love Island star took own life

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Sophie Gradon was crowned Miss Newcastle and Miss Great Britain in 2009

A former beauty queen and Love Island star took cocaine and alcohol and then killed herself, an inquest has found.

Star of the ITV2 dating show Sophie Gradon hanged herself at her family home in Medburn, Ponteland on 20 June.

The 32-year-old was found by her boyfriend Aaron Armstrong, 25, who took his own life 20 days later.

Northumberland South coroner Eric Armstrong said he was “certain she would not have acted as she did without taking alcohol and cocaine”.

Mr Armstrong told North Shields Coroner’s Court research in the USA suggested someone was 16 times more likely to take their life if they consumed both.

“The combination is used by those who believe it brings on a so-called high much quicker,” he said.

“What they do not appreciate is it also gives rise to violent thoughts.

“If Sophie’s death is to serve any purpose at all, that message must go out far and wide.”

Home Office pathologist Dr Jennifer Bolton said Ms Gradon was two-and-a-half times the drink-drive limit and under the influence of cocaine.

Det Sgt Neill Jobling of Northumbria Police told the hearing Ms Gradon had been exchanging messages with a male friend into the early hours of the day she died.

In them she said she had had suicidal thoughts, that she was “struggling with the world” and every day with ADHD, and she “cannot do this any more”.

In another message sent at 01:44 BST she said: “I would never want to do that to my family but if I could escape I would.”

She had alcohol and cocaine in her system which increased the likelihood of violent thoughts and actions, Det Sgt Jobling said.

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Aaron Armstrong died 20 days after his girlfriend Sophie Gradon

Ms Gradon, who had more than 400,000 followers on Instagram, was crowned Miss Newcastle and Miss Great Britain in 2009 and appeared on Love Island in 2016.

She had been diagnosed with depression and low self-esteem in 2013 and was taking medication for social anxiety disorder at the time of her death, Det Sgt Jobling said.

The inquest heard she was found hanging in the living room of her parents’ home by Mr Armstrong and his brother.

Mr Armstrong attempted CPR for 15 minutes but quickly realised she was dead.

He had become concerned after not receiving any messages from his girlfriend during the day.

The pair had been exchanging messages until after 02:00 but when he woke up after 11:00 he got no reply from messages or phone calls.

Mr Armstrong had been in a relationship with the former beauty queen since May 2018 after meeting her on a night out in Newcastle.

He killed himself days after her death, a coroner at his inquest found.

The coroner said Mr Armstrong’s thinking could have been “muddled” by her death.

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