Bright student killed herself after allergic reaction to hair dye made her bald

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Dead: Emma Rowlatt's body was discovered in a storeroom at her mother Debbie's pub

A young woman who was 'hating herself' after a near-fatal reaction to hair dye took a fatal overdose, an inquest heard.

Emma Rowlatt, 20, had been treated in intensive care and lost all her hair in the catastrophic reaction to the dye she bought from a local shop.

Afterwards she put on a show of being happy for her family and friends. But secretly she saw herself as a 'fat, no-haired failure', according to a note she left.

Emma took an overdose of cocaine in a junk room at her mother's pub in Beswick, Manchester.

Her body remained hidden for two weeks because the storeroom - which was rarely used - had its windows kept open year round and had industrial-strength air fresheners fitted inside.

The grim discovery was made when police turned up at the pub the day after her mother Deborah Dooley filed a missing persons report.

Officers asked her if she could find a photograph of her daughter and provide bank statements. She went to the storeroom and found Emma's body inside, hidden behind boxes.

A note had been left on the back of a family portrait saying: 'I am sick of being a fat, no-haired failure. I love you all to pieces but I just can't live hating myself any more.

'Please don't hate me. I will be happier now and so will you.'

Mrs Dooley said: 'Emma and I were the best of friends. She was doing very well at school and she was a bright girl. But in the last years she had problems.

'She had used some hair dye and ended up in intensive care and she lost all her lovely black hair.'

Emma Rowlatt

Emma's body lay undiscovered in a storeroom at her mother's pub for two weeks before she was found

Emma, who had three brothers, hoped to go to London and study beauty therapy.

She lived at the pub with her mother, but often spent nights away from home.

On the day she vanished, February 5, she told Mrs Dooley that she was going to stay at a friend's house.

The mother and daughter had been arguing about Emma's drifting in and out of the pub.

Mrs Dooley added: 'She didn't seem to be doing anything with her life and I sent her a text saying she was out of order, but she sent a text back saying, "Sorry, got to go, I love you".


Fun-loving: Emma on a night out with friends

'Most of her friends and family had received the same text. I assumed she had been back and left again and gone to stay with friends. No one heard anything from Emma for two weeks.'

Her friend, Carrie-Ann Boyce, 21, a trainee paramedic said: 'When Emma lost her hair I was there to help her through that time and got a wig for her.

'Even though she had problems like this, she never gave me any idea that she was depressed or wanted to harm herself.'

The inquest heard that Emma had traces of cocaine, Ecstasy and alcohol in her blood.

Pathologist Dr Iskander Chaudry gave the medical cause of death as 'ingestion of excessive amounts of cocaine'.

Emma Rowlatt

Laughter: Emma Rowlatt killed herself after suffering a near-fatal allergic reaction to hair dye

Manchester coroner Nigel Meadows recorded a verdict of death by nondependent drugs.

He said: 'She was clearly distressed and upset by her appearance in the past but I think her hair had started to grow back. It is not sufficient to say that she intended to kill herself.

'Emma's death might in fact send a message out to other people as a whole.

'And if there is a silver lining to this very dark cloud she was a message for others about the dangers of drugs.

'They robbed us of a very lively girl with an awful lot of promise for the future. The drugs she took is like playing Russian roulette.'

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