AN NHS trust will consider what it could have done better following the death of a 'dedicated' employee.

Emma Leigh MBE took her own life at the Newton Brewery Inn in Middlewich, an inquest has heard.

A community health transformation programme lead at the Cheshire and Wirral Partnership (CWP), Mrs Leigh’s death came as she battled with a divorce, her mother’s death, changes to her job role and workplace allegations.

A statement from Mrs Leigh’s daughter, Casey, was read out during the hearing on Tuesday (June 4).

She said: “She was a phenomenally kind, hard-working, human being - a very strong, reliable, committed and dependable person.

“She had experienced difficulties but was a very resilient person.

“She was proactive in helping others and removing the stigma of mental health issues by asking for help and offering help to others who needed it.”

Northwich Guardian: Emma Leigh was awarded an MBE in 2014Emma Leigh was awarded an MBE in 2014 (Image: NQ)

Mrs Leigh, of Middlewich, was born on April 4, 1973, and was married to Glen Leigh, with whom she had two children – Casey and Zack.

At the inquest, Mrs Leigh's line manager Sam Curtis said he first became aware of issues with her mental health at their monthly meeting on September 11, 2023.

She raised concerns about her ongoing divorce, her parents’ health and her changing job role.

Mr Curtis said: “This was the first time Emma really would display a real acute upset and almost to a level of distress.”

At the end of October, Mrs Leigh’s mother died suddenly.

While on bereavement leave, an allegation about Mrs Leigh 'blurring professional boundaries' was made by a lived experience advisor (LEA) – someone who has used CWP’s mental health services and now provides their insight to help improve them.

Mrs Leigh met with her work counsellor, Karen Case, on November 15 who felt there was an 'increased risk', so contacted Mrs Leigh’s GP.

The GP spoke to Mrs Leigh on November 21 and arranged an appointment for the next working day.

Also on this day, Jo Watts, associate director of operations for specialist mental health at CWP, informed Mrs Leigh that a decision had been made to conduct a formal investigation into the allegations.

Ms Watts said: “Emma was very upset, very tearful. She was struggling to understand why the LEA had made these allegations against her.

“She was inconsolable.”

Northwich Guardian: Newton Brewery Inn in MiddlewichNewton Brewery Inn in Middlewich (Image: Google Maps)

On the morning of November 23, Mrs Leigh was found dead on the bed of a room she had booked at the Newton Brewery Inn.

Area coroner Victoria Davies concluded that Mrs Leigh’s death was a suicide but raised some concerns about her employer’s actions.

She questioned firstly why it was the duty of Mrs Leigh’s line manager to share details of the allegation with her, despite Mr Curtis himself not being 'in the loop'.

“This contributed significantly to the deterioration of her mental health,” Mrs Davies said.

She also highlighted an email sent by the trust’s occupational health team on October 31 which stated the LEA was concerned Mrs Leigh would kill herself if the allegations were brought to an investigation.

However, this information was not passed to Ms Watts or Mr Curtis.

Mrs Davies added: “I am concerned the processes within sharing information around serious allegations are not supportive to the person about whom the allegation is being made.”

Despite this, Mrs Davies opted not to prepare a report to prevent future deaths as the CWP has already stated these concerns will be discussed at board level in July.

Samaritans is available round the clock, every single day of the year, providing a safe place to talk for anyone who is struggling to cope.

Call 116 123 (this number is free to call and will not appear on your phone bill), 01204 521200 or email