A primary school headteacher killed herself in her office less than six months after starting the job, her devastated family revealed today.
Helen Mann, 43, is understood to have hanged herself in Sytchampton Endowed First School, Worcester, shortly after 4.20pm yesterday, after leading a teaching training session earlier in the day.
No pupils are believed to have been in the school at the time of the death of the mother-of-two.
West Midlands Ambulance Service, along with a rapid response vehicle, a BASICS doctor and a paramedic rushed to the school after a member of staff discovered her body.
A spokesman said: ‘Unfortunately, a woman found at the school was confirmed dead at the scene.’
A text message was sent to parents said the school would be closed until Thursday – describing the death as a ‘serious incident’.
Her devastated father-in-law Kenneth Mann today revealed that Mrs Mann – who had two sons aged 13 and 10 – had apparently taken her own life.
He said: ‘We understand she took her own life. We don’t know the exact circumstances but we are all deeply shocked and saddened.
‘Helen had only started work at the school in the summer. We had no idea this was going to happen.
‘We are all just absolutely heartbroken.
‘She was just the loveliest person, so nice to everyone. They have two wonderful sons who she loved so much.’
Yesterday police interviewed Mrs Mann’s husband Philip, 48, to discover what caused her to end her life.
Her father-in-law added: ‘Phil is out talking to the police at the moment but we are all devastated.
‘It has come completely out of the blue, we would never have expected anything like this.’
The school – in a tiny hamlet near the picturesque Worcestershire market town of Stourport-on-Severn – has cancelled all after-school activities.
One acquaintance said: ‘My daughter works at the school and apparently Mrs Mann was found hanged. It’s absolutely heartbreaking because she was always so happy and cheerful.’
‘Officers are investigating the death, which is being treated as unexplained but is not believed to be suspicious and they are compiling a report that will be passed to the Worcestershire Coroner.
‘The local Safer Neighbourhoods Team is also liaising with the school’s authorities as they deal with the incident.’
A spokesman for Worcestershire County Council said the school would remain closed tomorrow while investigations continue.
He added: ‘We are unable to offer any further details at this time.’
The school, which caters for 109 pupils aged between five and nine, achieved two ‘outstanding’ Ofsted reports following inspections in 2006 and 2009.
Mrs Mann, from Worcester, took up her post from the start of the summer term.
Speaking at the time of her appointment, she said: ‘It has been a great pleasure to meet the pupils and staff and I am really looking forward to working with everyone – staff, pupils, parents and governors alike – to be able to build on the achievements of Sychampton and its outstanding Ofsted assessment.’
Dr Stephanie Galt, chairman of governors for the school, today paid tribute to Mrs Mann.
She said: ‘It is with great sadness that we confirm the passing of our headteacher, Helen Mann.
‘We offer our deepest sympathy to Helen’s family, friends and colleagues. We have taken the decision to close school today and tomorrow and are working with the local authority to provide support to staff and pupils.
‘Parents will be informed when school will re-open as soon as possible.’