AN INQUEST heard how a security officer tried in vain to stop a depressed woman jumping 60ft from the top of the Merrywalks multi-storey car park in Stroud.

Pauline Sharpe, 60, who suffered from bi-polar disorder, died later as surgeons at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital tried to save her life.

Coroner Alan Crickmore recorded a verdict of suicide on Mrs Sharpe, of Oak drive, Rodborough on Wednesday.

The inquest heard that Mrs Sharpe had been receiving psychiatric treatment and medication for 11 years before she died on December 16 last year.

She had spoken in the past about visiting multi-storey car parks in Stroud and Cheltenham to assess if they were high enough to use to commit suicide.

Clive Cerrone, a security guard at Merrywalks, was on duty when he saw a woman sitting on the beam at the top of the car park stairwell, the inquest heard.

Mrs Sharpe was wearing a headscarf and there was a torch nearby, he said.

In a statement read out at the hearing, Mr Cerrone said: "I began to approach her and ask her to come back over to the correct side. She was muttering and murmuring.

"What she was saying was unrecognisable.

"I repeatedly asked her to come back, saying 'Please come back over the side.'

"She continued murmuring - I was within a few feet but didn't want to grab her in case she went over.

"My first thought was to go and get help as I could not handle the situation on my own."

Mr Cerrone ran to the bowling centre and asked the manager to help before retuning.

"As I got near her and turned the corner about 15-20 feet away I saw her lean forward and disappear out of sight, falling to the floor," he said.

Mr Cerrone ran downstairs and found her lying outside Domino's Pizza.

"I told the lady that everything was going to be all right. I ran into Domino's and asked people there to call the police," he said.

Staff provided two coats to put over her until police and paramedics arrived.

"She was still mumbling, not screaming in pain. I waited with her and kept telling her everything was going to be okay," he said.

Mrs Sharpe had broken and dislocated ankles, a fractured pelvis, fractures to some vertebrae and massive internal bleeding and haemorrhage.

She underwent surgery at Gloucestershire Royal but died at 11.25pm, four hours after the fall from multiple injuries.

The inquest was told that Mrs Sharpe had been made redundant in the mid 1990s, something which had affected her badly and from then on she suffered with depression.

At the time of her death she was receiving help from a mental health crisis team.

She had been particularly low on her 60th birthday last September.

A friend, Sheila Marsh, said she had spoken to Mrs Sharpe by phone on the day she died, which happened to be the date of her daughter Charlotte's birthday. Mrs Sharpe said she was feeling a bit better.

Psychiatrist Dr John Salter said "She had often expressed suicidal thoughts. She was often anxious about her finances, her own safety and anxious about growing old.

"There was also conflict in relationships with family, particularly her daughter and ex-partner."