Bound and gagged Scottish government employee ‘contemplated suicide’

DeeAnn Fitzpatrick, 49, told how she became a recluse and contacted the Swiss suicide clinic Dignitas because “I’d had enough”.

The Canadian national has brought a case to an industrial tribunal alleging she endured racism and misogyny at Marine Scotland where she worked as a fisheries protection officer.

The photograph of Ms Fitzpatrick tied to a chair was taken in 2010. It is not being considered as part of the current tribunal as it occurred more than three years before the case was brought.

Giving evidence to the tribunal in Aberdeen, she told how she felt intimidated by valentine and birthday cards sent to her every year between 2015 and 2017.

She said she believed the cards, which were not signed, had been sent by male work colleagues.

She received three Valentine’s cards on the same day in February 2016 and told the tribunal: “I knew I didn’t have secret admirers. I knew I had some individuals who thought I was a joke, humiliated, degraded me, used racist remarks, referred to me as being gay.”

One birthday card, postmarked February 2017, was delivered after she had been signed off work. It contained the message: “Happy Birthday to an old troll. We will miss ya – NOT.”

She said: “I was terrified. It made the statement to me that, whoever it was, they were letting me know they could still get to me and I became frightened because I felt it was never going to stop.”

She added: “When I first started getting the cards, it made me feel awful.

“But as they continued, yes it’s affected my self-esteem.

“It’s actually made me become a recluse – I stay at home, I have gone more into myself.

“With everything going on, I contacted Dignitas in Switzerland. I had enough.”

Dignitas provides assisted suicide to those who suffer from a terminal illness, severe physical or mental illnesses.

Ms Fitzpatrick told the tribunal she had worked for Marine Scotland, which oversees work in the country’s seas, since 2006.

The alleged abuse is said to have taken place while she was based in the government body’s Scrabster office in the Highlands and continued after she was signed off.

:: If you feel suicidal or vulnerable or if you’re worried that someone you know may be feeling suicidal call the Samaritans on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org

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