Woman found dead at home with son 'feared death after cancer diagnosis'

An inquest has been scheduled after the deaths of a woman and her young son at their Lockesfield Pla

Yulia Gokcedag and her son Timur were found dead at their home in Lockesfield Place. - Credit: Google Maps

A woman found dead with her seven-year-old son during lockdown had a strong fear of death following a "likely curable" cancer diagnosis, an inquest heard.


Yulia Gokcedag, 35, and her son Timur were pronounced dead at their  home in Lockesfield Place, on the Isle of Dogs, on August 13.


On Wednesday,  December 16, Poplar Coroner's Court heard financial analyst Mrs Gokcedag was found dead after 3am after her husband phoned the police to report her missing.

In a statement, Rhian Williams, a paramedic at the scene, said officers found Mrs Gokcedag hanged and Timur in the bath, with his clothes on the side.

Dr Nathaniel Cary, who carried out Timur's post-mortem, said the boy suffered minimal bruising to his scalp and chin which could have been "consistent with enforced immersion".

Dr Cary said: "It may be that Timur was rapidly overwhelmed while initially passively sitting in the bath."

Mrs Gokcedag's husband Memhet gave evidence at the inquest.

He told the court: "She was a good mother. She loved our son and it is very unimaginable why and how she could do this, the child that came out of her, why would she take his life?"

He said his wife had talked about taking her own life in May 2020, speaking about submerging herself in the bathtub and attempting to choke herself.

Most Read

"She said there was a constant vibration or trembling inside her... She had a fear of death."

The inquest heard Mrs Gokcedag had been diagnosed with breast cancer in January and underwent chemotherapy sessions.

The court was also told she was given a 97 per cent chance of surviving the cancer by doctors, but believed she would be part of the 3pc who did not survive.

Her mother Elena Galieva, speaking through a Russian interpreter, told the court: "When someone is diagnosed no one can give 100pc and some people are happy when they are given 50pc.

"But Yulia unfortunately thought she only had 3pc. Even before she was diagnosed, she was always worried about stress."

Mrs Gokcedag's post-mortem found there were no gross signs of malignant tumours, with only microscopic traces of a tumour remaining.

Professor Paul Ellis, an oncologist, told the inquest that the 35-year-old had finished chemotherapy and had been scheduled for surgery the week after her death.

He said: "On that day, August 11, I thought Yulia had done brilliantly, I could see her and her mum were delighted with how well she had had done.

"I had every expectation that she would be turning up for surgery next week."

He added: "She did have a cancer that was curable, she had a fabulous response."

Senior Coroner Mary Hassell was told Mrs Gokcedag began worrying about having a heart attack or a deep vein thrombosis in 2014, prompting multiple trips to the hospital.

Dr Mark Flynn, a clinical psychologist, said Mrs Gokcedag had acute anxiety and a "huge amount of self recrimination about her possible responsibility for the diagnosis and the course of her treatment".

Asked if Mrs Gokcedag had ever shown signs of wanting to harm Timur, Dr Flynn said no.

He told the inquest: "She struck me as very warm and loving. He would sometimes come into sessions and they seemed to have a very warm, healthy, tactile connection."

Dr Flynn and a second expert involved in her care found Mrs Gokcedag was at a low risk of suicide, in part due to her plans for the future and signs of hope shown.

The inquest continues.

For support or someone to talk to, contact the Samaritans on 116 123.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter