A NEW Forest woman who strangled herself to death after 25 years of self-harm was looking positively to the future, a coroner was told.

Wendy Lucas, of Station Road, New Milton, suffered from borderline personality disorder and regularly tied a ligature round her neck to manage her emotions, an inquest heard.

The 38-year-old was happy and productive while volunteering at the Avon Tyrrell leisure park, near Ripley, in the days before her death, Winchester Coroner's Court was told.

She was found dead by police on February 24 after self-harming in her flat, the inquest heard. The coroner heard she may have tied the bind too tightly, but he ruled out suicide.

Wendy began hurting hersel aged 13 to try and handle her "extreme" emotions, said Dr Cynthia Gil-Rios, consultant psychiatrist at the Waterford House unit in New Milton.

Ms Lucas volunteered at Avon Tyrrell's outreach scheme, which helps people with mental health issues return to working routine.

Karen Symonds, who runs the programme, said in a statement: "Wendy was a lovely person, keen and enthusiastic. I can't believe she would do something like this."

Paul Kemp, who befriended Ms Lucas after the pair met at the Stonham mental health unit in Lymington, and later became her neighbour, said they often discussed how to avoid suicidal thoughts.

He told how they spent the weekend before her death together, going shopping and watching television.

But on the morning of February 24, noting his usually "meticulous" friend had not taken her bins out, Mr Kemp sent a string of messages to Ms Lucas. When they went unanswered he raised the alarm with Waterford House. Police arrived shortly afterwards, breaking into the flat to find her dead.

Consultant histopathologist said the ligature cut off oxygen to her brain and may have been applied too tightly.

In a second statement to police five weeks after the death, Mr Kemp said: "Now that I've had a while to think, I believe Wendy did not intend to take her life.

"I am certain that Wendy was feeling more positive and looking to the various things that were developing in her life. She was looking forward to making progress and not being ill."

He said she had not self-harmed for a week and must have felt a "wave of distress so violent" it compelled her to apply the ligature.

Recording a verdict of death by misadventure, senior central Hampshire coroner Grahame Short said: "It was a deliberate act. She intended to put the ligature around her neck, but she didn't intend the consequences of that act."

Dr G said the trust was presenting Ms Lucas' case to other clinicians to see if they could improve their treatment of high risk patients.

Mr Lucas told the Daily Echo after the inquest: "Everybody that met her, she would do everything before them. That was just Wendy's personality. Everybody that met her found her to be a very lovely person."