Headteacher found hanged at county school

By Newsdesk Tuesday 06 November 2012 Updated: 06/11 16:36

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Buy photos » Helen Mann is understood to have been found hanged at Sytchampton Endowed First School. (s)

A PRIMARY school headteacher has been found hanged in her office less than six months after starting the job.

The body of Helen Mann, 43, from Worcester, was found at Sytchampton Endowed First School, near Ombersley, shortly after 4.20pm on Monday (November 5).

No pupils are understood to have been in the school at the time and earlier Mrs Mann had led a teacher training day.

West Midlands Ambulance Service, along with a rapid response vehicle, a BASICS doctor and a paramedic were called to the school on the A449 after a member of staff discovered her body.

A spokesman said: "Unfortunately, a woman found at the school was confirmed dead at the scene.

Her devastated father-in-law Kenneth Mann said he understood Mrs Mann - who has two sons, George, 13, and Jack, ten - had taken her own life.

He said: "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."

One resident said: "My daughter works at the school and apparently Mrs Mann was found hanged. It's absolutely heart breaking because she was always so happy and cheerful."

A spokesman for West Mercia Police said: "Police were called to Sytchampton Endowed First School at around 4.20pm where a woman in her 40s was found deceased on the school premises.

"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 until Wednesday while investigations continued.

The school, which caters for 109 pupils aged 5-9, achieved two 'outstanding' Ofsted reports following inspections in 2006 and 2009. Mrs Mann 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 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."

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