Clara Malagon (pictured) had been on-duty on the night of the terror attack which claimed 22 lives
A newly-qualified nurse took her own life just two months after she was assigned to treat victims of the Manchester Arena bomb attack, an inquest heard.
Clara Malagon had been on duty on the night of the 2017 terror attack which claimed 22 lives and witnessed first-hand horrific injuries sustained by the young victims.
An inquest heard Miss Malagon had completed a degree in nursing and became a critical care nurse at Manchester Royal Infirmary in 2016, a year before the bombing at Manchester Arena.
She had had a history of mental health issues including depression, and in a chat with her father in January, months before the attack, she told him: ‘Dad, I need help.’
The 22-year-old successfully underwent counselling and had a detailed debrief about the bombing with senior doctors.
But in July last year, Miss Malagon was found hanged on the balcony of her first-floor apartment in Manchester city centre. It is not known why she killed herself.
Her Spanish father Dr Ignacio Malagon wept as he told the hearing how his daughter had seen the young victims with devastating injuries.
He added: ‘It was traumatic for her and I rang her and I said to her “are you OK?” and she said “yeah dad, it’s really tough, I’ve seen some of the kids didn’t make it”.
‘She said some didn’t make it from A&E and she said she had seem some with their faces blown away and it was really hands on in the ICU.
‘I said to her that I realise this is very traumatic for her and if she was upset then she should tell her seniors, or if she felt unwell she should tell her managers. I just said to her not to worry and that it was going to be fine.’
She was a keen rower and enjoyed cycling running and walking and also played the viola and took up ballet and flamenco dancing.
But Miss Malagon, from Twickenham, south-west London, also suffered bouts of depression and self doubt and had been prescribed the antidepressant Citallipram.
Miss Malagon successfully underwent counselling and had a detailed debrief about the bombing (pictured) with senior doctors
Mr Malagon added: ‘She was physically quite tough but she was seeing her GP for mental health issues.
‘Out of the blue she started crying at university, she would come to me but I couldn’t give her professional advice so I advised her to go and talk to someone.
‘She went to counselling organised by university; everything was going well so she came off the medication.
‘But in January last year she started crying again, and she said to me “Dad, I need help”.
Miss Malagon, from Twickenham, south-west London, also suffered bouts of depression and self doubt and had been prescribed the antidepressant Citallipram
I gave her some money to pay for the first few sessions [with a counsellor] and she found one she did like.
‘She was able to organise the counselling herself. She said she was happy with the lady she found.’
‘When she felt stressed she would share it and talk with me. In the weeks leading up to her death, there were no such conversations.’
Miss Malagon’s flatmate Grace Callaghan told the inquest how she found her friend on her return home from work
She said: ‘She had said to me she was feeling low and she made an appointment with her doctor to prescribe some more antidepressants.
‘She was one of the loveliest people I ever knew – on the night before there wasn’t any concern about her.’
Dr Gill Aitken said Miss Malagon had been prescribed Citrallipram but came off the drug in September 2016 before finishing her nursing degree.
In a statement Dr Aitken said: ‘She came back to me and said she was feeling low and crying, and feeling apathetic. Whilst there was no trigger, I believe this was work related.
‘She was anxious about work, she had her own self doubt and confidence issues and she said she wasn’t sleeping.
‘But she denied any suicidal thoughts. She said she wanted some medication and I suggested a review in two weeks time, which she did.’
Police examined Miss Malagon’s iPad and laptop but found no evidence she would take her own life – with one message to a friend in a social media chat saying she had a successful counselling session.
Recording a conclusion of suicide, Coroner Andrew Bridgman said: ‘She was on medication for around six to seven months, to which she came off it and appeared to be fine.
‘However this resurfaces towards mid June 2017 – three to four weeks following the Manchester Arena tragedy when she was on duty.
‘It clearly had some effect on her however I have had a discussion with her father, and there was no specific reference to the trauma of the events of that night.’
Speaking after the inquest, Dr Malagon said: ‘She was a beautiful girl and fantastic woman. She was extremely dedicated to her work and her job.
‘She was a wonderful daughter and a wonderful friend.’
- For confidential support, contact Samaritans on 116123, or www.samaritans.org