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10/31/2012 04:43 pm ET

Kayley Howson Case Revisited By Doctors Who Believe Suicide May Not Have Been Tied To Acquittal Of Rapist

Doctors are revisiting the case of Kayley Howson, a UK college student who committed suicide four years ago after learning her alleged rapist had been acquitted.

After a three-year legal ordeal that culminated in a 2006 acquittal, Howson eventually hung herself from the banister of her home's stairs on March 1, 2008.

But following claims from her family that Howson was emotionally unstable, doctors are re-examining whether she killed herself because of the trial's verdict or because of a psychological disorder related to her alleged sexual assault.

"She had no problems until the age of 14 and the allegation of sexual assault. She took the acquittal very, very hard. That really affected her, and she started to self-harm," Howson's mother Janet Mitchell told the Lancashire Telegraph.

Howson reportedly overdosed 12 times in three years as she struggled to cope with stress from the trial and verdict.

Ten days before she was found, Howson stopped taking an antidepressant medication after she complained of suffering from painful physical side effects.

"It was immediately noticeable there was a change in her. Her mood swings became worse," Mitchell said in an interview.

At an inquest into the report, the coroner in the case admitted he wasn't sure her suicide was related to the acquittal or depression.

“Two words keep coming back to me-- confusion and impulsivity with no consideration of the consequences," he told the Telegraph.

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