Antiques Roadshow expert dies after suspected postpartum psychosis

The jewellery expert thought her baby was communicating with her telepathically.

By Kate Wagner

A jewellery expert on Antique Roadshow died days after being restrained by emergency staff after suffering suspected postpartum psychosis, an inquest heard.

Alice Gibson-Watt, 34, had to be restrained by five police and ambulance personnel after she had delusions that her five-week-old baby was communicating with her telepathically.

The suspected bout of postpartum psychosis, which can cause hallucinations and paranoia, caused Mrs Gibson-Watt to crawl around her bed on all fours shouting her daughter was unsafe.

Mrs Gibson-Watt fought like “a tigress” against members of emergency services when they arrived to take her to the hospital.

Her husband Anthony called is mother-in-law who arrived to find her daughter in the back of the ambulance.

"She was alarmingly strapped down with five people holding her down at the time," she told the court.

Mrs Gibson-Watt suffered a ruptured liver and internal bleeding after the episode, West London Coroner’s Court heard.

The inquest, which began on Tuesday, will determine whether the way the mother was restrained while being taken to hospital is what caused her injuries.

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"Neither Alice or I were at all aware of postpartum psychosis,” Mr Gibson-Watts said while giving evidence.

"What happened that first night was deeply traumatic and wholly unlike my dear wife Alice.

"After some 48 hours of her arrival at Lakeside Mental health unit, I was somewhat relieved she was in the right place to start receiving treatment.

"How wrong that turned out to be."

He concluded his short statement by saying, "She was enthralled by motherhood. One day I will tell our daughter more about her wonderful mother.

"I just hope now finally we get as close as possible to the truth of her passing."

One of the police officers involved in restraining Mrs Gibson-Watt, PC Sue Thomson, said she was screaming so loudly it was hard to hear the paramedic and she appeared to be “trying to bite out at someone’s arms”.

When Mrs Gibson-Watt arrived at the hospital, she was given a sedative to calm her.

Consultant psychiatrist Dr Miriam Barrett, of the North West London mental health trust, told the inquest that during a “normal conversation” with Mrs Gibson-Watt the next morning, she said “she could hear the baby speaking to her and it was saying to her that it was dead”.

“She was convinced that she was communicating with her baby and the baby could communicate with her,” Barrett said. “The baby was part of her delusions and that is where the risk arose.”

The inquest is expected to continue until late April.