Morning-after pill was to blame for the death of my daughter, says tycoon's wife

Suicide tragedy of 19 year old with the world at her feet

Daily Mail Feb 28, 2004

By Michael Taggart

TO all who knew her, she was a pretty and popular girl with a wealthy, loving family and a golden future beckoning her.

At 19, Tamlyn Vlotman was excited about a university art course she was due to begin -aiming to realise her dream of becoming a painter.

But the day before she was scheduled to leave to start her studies, she hanged herself after taking drugs during a night out.

Yesterday, after a coroner ruled that Tamlyn had committed suicide, her mother angrily blamed the morning-after pill for her daughter's death. Teacher Liz Vlotman claims it turned her from a happy teenager to an unstable and depressive drug and alcohol abuser.

Tamlyn - whose father Clive ran the PowerStore chain of electri≠al shops in the South of England - went out with friends in Reading on September 21, 2001.

On her way home in a taxi in the early hours, she phoned a friend Ben Curel.

Mr Curel said the blonde South African-born teenager was 'cheerful', despite having been spurned by a potential boyfriend. Another friend, Sarah Bickerstaffe, who had been with the group, said Tamlyn was upset because the two were not as close as they used to be. They had rowed about Tamlyn's drug use.

Tamlyn eventually went back alone to her country cottage on her parents' £2million estate at Chapmans Farm, Dunsden, near Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, where she hanged herself.

Her father found her body next day. She had scratches on her lower chest and thighs - a form of self-harm she had indulged in since she was 13. During the night out, she had made calls to drug dealers and tests showed traces in her body of amphetamine and MDA, which is found in Ecstasy.

Consultant pathologist Dr Peter Millard said the amount of amphetamine would have been enough to kill her, but she had died as a result of hanging.

Coroner Nicholas Gardiner recorded a suicide verdict on Tamlyn. 'Certainly it seems she must have been a rather troubled girl with a history of self-harm,' he said. 'She did intend to take her own life and there can be no other option.' Tamlyn, known as Tami, had taken the morning-after pill twice - first on the afternoon of September 21, then again at 4am on September 22, two hours before she died.

She was prescribed it after having unprotected sex with her boyfriend.

Her mother, speaking after the inquest, said she believes the pill, combined with the drink and drugs she had taken, had driven her to kill herself. 'I am convinced that taking it affected Tami's emotional and mental wellbeing to such a degree that it pushed her over the edge,' Mrs Vlotman added.

'It contains strong hormones, which, taken with drink and drugs, would have seriously affected her emotional stability.

'I cannot believe young girls today can just ask for it over the counter.

'Tami should have been told in no uncertain terms that taking the contraceptive with drink and drugs is dangerous.'

Tamlyn, who went "to the £7,300 a-year all-girl Abbey School in Reading, had dreamed of becoming a professional artist.

She had been due to start her art course at Goldsmiths College University of London.

'She often painted for her friends and family,' said her mother. 'We still have her pictures on the walls. She had so much to live for and so much love to give. She was an incredibly fun-loving and kind person.

'We all miss her love. What happened was so unfair. She was only just beginning to overcome he teenage problems and was looking forward to the future.'