Hypnotherapist drowned in the bath at her Fenland home, inquest hears

A WHEELCHAIR user who drowned in the bath at her Fenland home had suffered from mysterious blackouts, an inquest heard.

Christiane Middleton, 62, who was in “constant pain” with multiple sclerosis, was found dead in the bath by her husband Roger on the morning of June 21 this year.

She had decided to take a late night bath, as she often did, to soothe the pains in her back, Wisbech Coroner’s Court heard.

But Mrs Middleton, a trained hypnotherapist from Friday Bridge Road, Elm, was found underneath 16 inches of water at around 7am the next day.

Mr Middleton told the court that his wife had suffered “mysterious incidents” in the past, where she had blacked-out and was unable to remember what had happened.

She had spent a week in critical care at hospital in 2008 after her husband had found her unconscious in the bath at home.

“We never found out what the cause of the collapse there was,” said Mr Middleton.

Most Read

She had also fallen and broken her hip in December 2009, but was unable to remember any details of the incident or how she had come to fall.

Dr William Landells, pathologist at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn, told the court that there was no evidence that she had slipped or knocked herself unconscious.

He said therapeutic levels of alcohol, morphene and cannabis - which she smoked to help relieve pain - were found in Mrs Middleton’s system.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, Coroner William Morris said: “One can only summise on the evidence as to how she came to drown, but drowning did take place.

“I know she was a woman of considerable charm and I wish to express my condolences to the family.”

Mrs Middleton had been a dedicated professional, helping hundreds of people overcome trauma in her role as a therapist. Despite poor health, she continued to help patients up until a few days before she died.

Mrs Middleton had first learnt the techniques of hypnosis to help with her own pain, after a spinal operation.

But she was so intrigued by the medium that she used it to help others, completing her diploma in 2000 and setting up her own business, The Grace Mowbray Memorial Clinic, which she named after her grandmother. The clinic’s ethos was to “put the living back into life”.

A range of treatments including hypnosis, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) and a related treatment method called Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR), quickly established Mrs Middleton as a specialist in helping others overcome their difficulties.

Mrs Middleton was the only Accredited Practitioner in EMDR in the whole of Cambridgeshire, achieving the status in record time.

Mr Middleton, her husband of 25 years, said: “With a sensitive nature and astute brain, she seemed to have the knack of getting to the nub of patients’ problems quickly and began to get them rapidly on the road to recovery.

“Within 2 or 3 years of starting, Christiane had a full diary, as word of her expertise spread beyond the local area.

“She was a maverick in that she did not operate by the clock and took as much time as she needed to leave the patient in a comfort zone after each appointment.

“Her lively and outgoing personality would always impress itself on a group situation and people would tell her things about themselves after a very short acquaintance. This was one of the things that made her such a good therapist.”

Manea United Strikers Under-14s football team were amongst those to pay their respects to Mrs Middleton, holding a minute’s silence to honour her, after her tragic death in June.

She had donated money to the club, which went towards a new set of kit, after being impressed by the enthusiasm of the coach.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter