Hanna Yusuf: Talented BBC journalist took her own life, inquest hears

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Hanna Yusuf

A talented and widely admired BBC journalist took her own life, an inquest heard.

Hanna Yusuf, whose work included an investigation into working conditions at Costa Coffee stores, was found dead inside a flat in Paddington, west London in September 2019.

Westminster Coroner's Court heard that the 27-year-old's best friend took her own life weeks before Ms Yusuf died.

Coroner Dr Shirley Radcliffe recorded Ms Yusuf's death as suicide.

In February 2018 Ms Yusuf was admitted to Newham General Hospital after taking an overdose, the court heard.

Dr Radcliffe told the court that Ms Yusuf "regretted" the incident and that she enjoyed her work as a journalist "which was her main protective factor".

She added: "She felt alone, that there was no one in the world for her, [she] had had a traumatic childhood and had been trying to block emotions for a long time - but it had affected her."

Ms Yusuf then started therapy sessions with Lesley Cameron through an employee assistance programme (EAP) from March 2018 until January 2019.

But, the counsellor told the inquest, she had no idea Ms Yusuf had previously tried to take her own life.

"She had presented [at] times of being depressed and more about confused feelings of being hopeless," Ms Cameron said.

In August 2019 Ms Yusuf messaged Ms Cameron following the death of her best friend and the pair met on 12 September for a "one off session" - but no notes were taken.

"She was shocked and deeply saddened. Troubled that her friend had not told her she was feeling so low," Ms Cameron told the court.

'Brave journalist'

Ms Yusuf's body was later found by her landlady on 27 September and paramedics said she had been dead for some time.

PC Harvey Platt said there were no signs of disturbance or a note, adding that the death was deemed non-suspicious.

Dr Radcliffe described Ms Yusuf as a "brave journalist who loved bringing people together".

The court heard she had been diagnosed with sleep disturbance "due to work stress and irregular shift patterns".

Ms Yusuf, who spoke six languages, wrote for the BBC News website and had also worked as a TV news producer.

Fran Unsworth, the BBC's director of news, said she was a "talented young journalist who was widely admired".

At the time of her death, BBC newsreader George Alagiah paid tribute to "a young journalist of such talent and promise", while The Guardian's editor Katharine Viner said she was a "talented journalist and lovely person".

And BBC chief international correspondent Lyse Doucet tweeted: "You left too soon a world where you shone such a bright light."

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