Police have revealed how a trail of blood in a bathroom sink and a note headed "My Last Day" sparked a tense race against time to save the life of a suicidal young woman.
The alarm was raised after Laura Cheek's mum and a friend called police to say they were worried about her mental state and urged them to go to her home in Cambridgeshire.
Her life was only saved that day three years ago by the efforts of two police officers who raced to the rescue.
Ms Cheek, now 34 and a mum, has been to meet the officers who saved her life and is telling her story to encourage other people suffering with mental ill health.
She survived thanks to PCs Barbara Williams and George McCready who were sent to her house at Waterbeach in Cambridgeshire in June 2021.
When they arrived, the pair found no trace of Ms Cheek, only the blood in the sink and the note headed "My Last Day".
They began an urgent search of the surrounding area, taking in bridges, railway tracks and remote roads.
One vital clue came from Ms Cheek's friend Hannah Gray, who works for the police, and had taken a distressed call from her.
She had been able to hear that Ms Cheek's car was going along what sounded like a bumpy surface, which helped the police officers track her down to the end of a remote single track road.
They discovered her unresponsive and struggling for breath in the driver’s seat, having taken an overdose of drugs.
The officers transferred the patient to the back seat of their car and contacted the ambulance service, before PC Williams drove up the track at speed while PC McCready monitored Ms Cheek's breathing.
At one point they had to remove her from the car and place her on the ground to make sure she was still breathing before continuing up the track.
Once they reached the main road Ms Cheek was handed over to ambulance crews and taken to hospital where she was placed in intensive care.
Three years on from her ordeal and after receiving mental health treatment, Ms Cheek is happy and doing well with her six-month-old daughter Ivy.
If you want help with your mental health:
CALM, the Campaign Against Living Miserably, runs a free and confidential helpline and webchat. It also supports those bereaved by suicide, through the Support After Suicide Partnership (SASP). Call 0800 585858 (daily, 5pm to midnight).
Mind is a mental health charity which promotes the views and needs of people with mental health issues. It provides advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem, and campaigns to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding. Call 0300 123 3393 or email email@example.com
Samaritans is an organisation offering confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair. Phone 116 123 (a free 24 hour helpline) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Earlier this month she was reunited with her rescuers at police headquarters in Huntingdon after tracking PC Williams down on social media.
She said: “I wanted to meet the officers who saved my life and show them that I’m happy now and I have my little girl, Ivy.
“To others suffering with their mental health, I want to show that life can change in a good way.
“I was in such a state when I did what I did. I hadn’t eaten in days. I’d spoken to Hannah about her looking after my beloved dog when I was no longer here and I’d even planned my funeral.
“When I took that overdose, I meant it. It was a genuine attempt on my life, but I’m proof that you can turn things around, you just need to be open to help and know when to reach out.
“There’s such a stigma around mental health, but I hope by sharing my story we can start to break it down.”
PC Williams added: “There are some jobs that really stick with you and this was certainly one of them. It’s rare we get to know the outcome of an incident and even rarer that we meet someone we’ve helped, so it’s been amazing to catch up with Laura.
“It’s so lovely to see her looking so well and meet little Ivy – Laura really does look like a different person and it makes everything worthwhile.”
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