Tragic Vicki Archer's stepdad ‘begged for help’ to get into her house after she walked out of BBC radio show and killed herself

Tragic Vicki Archer's stepdad ‘begged for help’ to get into her house after she walked out of BBC radio show and killed herself

December 7, 2018

The 41-year-old mum-of-three told colleagues she was “upset” when she walked out of the Radio Shropshire slot she co-presented at 5pm.

Three hours later she was found dead in her loft by stepdad Lee Holyoake, 64.

Neighbour Chris Williams, 82, recalled the evening on August 6 this year when Vicki took her own life at her three-bed semi-detached house in Shrewsbury.

She said: “I was in my kitchen making the dinner with my daughter just after 5pm.

“We saw Vicki park her car on our road and walk past the window towards her house.

“I said to my daughter, ‘Vicki’s home early’. It was odd for two reasons – she should have been on the local radio until 7pm and she was not using her own driveway.

“Later on we were sitting in the garden enjoying the heatwave when we heard a knock at the door. It was Vicki’s stepfather and he was asking if he could borrow a ladder.

“My daughter got one from our neighbour and went with her stepfather while he climbed up the ladder and got in to the house via a bedroom window.

“He came down and didn’t say anything. Later we saw all the emergency services at the house and knew something tragic must have happened.”

Paying tribute to the mum-of-three Chris, a retired care manager, added: “She was such a jolly and bubbly woman with a beautiful smile and three lovely children. It’s just so sad to think she’s not here anymore”.

Another neighbour, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “It’s a complete tragedy. My son was at school with Vicki in the same year group and they are all devastated by what has happened.

“I used to see her riding out on her bike at the weekend with her three children. They looked so happy and she always had this vibrant personality.

“She was so bubbly on the radio and always having a laugh. If anyone ever mentioned dunking biscuits she would go mad as she was very opposed to it.”

Another neighbour, who did not want to be named, added: “She was a very private person but she had a lovely smile and would always give you a cheery hello. It’s just very sad.”

Vicki, who had split from her husband, suffered from depression and had made two previous suicide bids, Shropshire coroner's court heard.

She’d also tweeted about “hurtful gossip” in the days before her death.

On Wednesday Coroner John Ellery concluded Vicki died as a result of suicide.

A statement read to the hearing on behalf of Vicki’s stepdad Mr Holyoake said he made efforts to revive her but she was pronounced dead by paramedics at about 8.20pm.

In his statement, Mr Holyoake said "alarm bells started to ring" after he and Ms Archer's 73-year-old mum Beryl were told she had left work early and got no response when knocking at her door.

In a statement issued after the inquest, members of the presenter's family said: "We still cannot believe that Vicki's not here.

"Her zest for life was infectious, she was a wonderful mother and daughter, and her charm brought a smile to all those who knew her. She could light up a room.

"While we will always miss her, we want to remember and celebrate everything that she achieved, which is why, in the spring, we are planning a memorial celebration of her life.

"But in the meantime we want to thank everyone for their support and kindness helping us through our immeasurable loss."

David Jennings, the BBC's head of regional programmes for the West Midlands, said: "We are heartbroken at Vicki's death.

"Everyone here at Radio Shropshire respected her as a great presenter and journalist, but so much more than that we loved the sense of fun she brought to her shows and the station.

"Her loss leaves a huge void. Our thoughts are with her family at this sad time."

Ms Archer had presented the afternoon drivetime show at BBC Radio Shropshire with co-host Adam Green since 2010.

She had also had a successful career in commercial radio and as an event host and voiceover artist.

IF you are having suicidal thoughts, suffering from anxiety or depression or just want to talk, call The Samaritans on 116 123.

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