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Isabella Blow Took Own Life with Weed Killer

Godfrey Deeny
May 12th, 2007 @ 00:21 AM - Paris

Three days after the news first broke of her death, a British coroner has ruled that fashion icon Isabella Blow died of an overdose.

Blow committed suicide by drinking paraquat weed killer, the deputy Gloucestershire coroner David Dooley ruled Friday in an inquest into her death.

The stylist and former fashion editor of Tatler and the London Sunday Times died in hospital on Monday at the age of 48, after collapsing at her country home near Stroud, Gloucestershire.

Initial reports had suggested that Blow had died of cancer, but coroner Dooley explained that tests on her body had tested positive for paraquat. Further toxicological tests will be taken ahead of a full inquest to be held in October.

“Mrs. Blow had been taken to hospital on Saturday 5th May having been found in a poorly state by her sister. In hospital she told doctors she had taken paraquat and tests proved positive for this liquid,” Dooley said, before adjourning the inquest until October 24.

Blow had learnt this spring she was suffering from ovarian cancer. She was known to have made previous suicide attempts, including throwing herself off the Hammersmith flyover in West London, leaving her with serious leg injuries.

Once described as of the 20 most influential people in fashion, Blow was a legendary fashion diviner, famous for discovering talented designers like hatter Philip Treacy and Alexander McQueen, and models like Stella Tennant and Sophie Dahl.

Blow, an extremely sensitive woman, never made a fortune from fashion and was known to feel that many of the people she had helped launch had done little to help her in return.

Hers was a life delimited by suicide. She was the grand daughter of Sir Jock Delves Broughton, who was infamously tried, though eventually acquitted, for the murder of Earl of Errol in Kenya in the 1940s, before later killing himself. The 1988 film White Mischief starring Greta Scacchi and Charles Dance was based on this trial.

The father of her husband, barrister and gallery owner Detmar Blow, also committed suicide by drinking paraquat. Blow often revealed to people how deeply troubled she was by the fact that as a child she had witnessed the death of her two-year-old brother John, when drowned in the family swimming pool.

Blow’s funeral will be held next Tuesday in Gloucester Cathedral where she was married in 1989.

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