A WOMAN who was grieving for her dog took her own life, a coroner ruled.

Caroline Adams was found dead at her home in Westbourne Gardens, Hove, on August 13.

At an inquest into her death yesterday at Brighton Coroner’s Court, coroner Veronica Hamilton-Deeley said the 56-year-old’s death was sudden and unexpected.

The court heard Caroline’s dog Lucy, a springer collie cross, had died naturally on August 7.

Caroline’s father, John Adams, said: “Caroline used to do agility with her, but gradually Lucy got old and declined, and had many ailments.

“She was very attached to Lucy and wanted to keep her alive as long as possible.

“When Lucy died it was very traumatic for her.”

John had alerted police on August 13 after growing concerned for his daughter’s welfare, as she was not answering the phone and had not been at work for two days.

Coroner’s officer Ariana Palermo said when police entered the property, it was evident Caroline had died.

The pathologist’s report found she had died from a fatal toxicity of pentobarbital, a barbiturate drug which can be used as a sedative or for euthanasia in animals and humans.

Caroline, an English language teacher who had a background in acting and film production and was divorced, was described as a caring person who had a lot of friends.

The court heard she had recently accepted a teaching job in China and had begun an application for a visa.

Her father John said they had exchanged emails and her tone had been positive.

Her brother Julian Adams said: “I think that was Caroline’s great skill.

“She had a background in performing, and as a teacher she performed.

“But she spoke to me about how life was not ‘coming back’.

“She thought nothing was going to get any better and the best was behind her.”

Ms Hamilton Deeley said Caroline struck her as someone who made a great impression on others and offered them a lot of attention and support.

She said: “I wonder, as she was so used to helping other people, was she very used to asking for help herself?

“It can be very helpful at times to have someone to talk to who is just going to listen and not reply, and when that person or animal goes, it can be very difficult.

“I think it’s so clear that she wants to be with Lucy, as she sees it.

“But this is something that she possibly had in mind, maybe even before Lucy died.”

The court heard Caroline had last seen her father in July.

John Adams said: “ We had a wonderful time out in the garden. Lucy was there, and it was a happy afternoon.

“She had talked about a possible different career as a tour guide.

The coroner recorded a conclusion that Caroline took her own life.

She said: “She was an extraordinary woman.

“It seems she reached a stage where what she was doing was no longer gripping and she wanted something different, but it was difficult for her to see how she could have that.

“It’s really difficult, but I think she felt it is important you respect her decision.”