Mum took own life after feud with nightmare neighbours who ‘threw rubbish over her wall’

A hard-working mum subjected to months of abuse from her neighbours took her own life, an inquest has heard.

Sytske Luikens had been locked in an ongoing dispute with the neighbours, who allegedly threw rubbish into her garden, subjected her to vile verbal sexual abuse and smashed her windows.

Social worker Ms Luikens was accused of racial discrimination after reacting to the abuse, and was arrested by police.

The 51-year-old from Cleethorpes was suspended from her job following the accusations, and told mental health workers she would “end it all” if she was sacked.

An inquest this week heard mum-of-two Ms Luikens was found dead on a farm track next to her car near Caistor, Lincolnshire, after a missing person report was made, Grimsby Live reported.

A coroner told the inquest this week that the long-running dispute with the neighbours had spilled over into the single mum being targeted with verbal sexual abuse, while also being accused of verbal racial abuse.

The heartbreaking final words she left in a note to her mother Maaike Luikens were read out at the hearing at Cleethorpes Town Hall.

Mrs Johnson concluded the death was suicide after reading the note and evidence of the overdose of prescribed sedative drugs Sytske had taken.

She said there had been a dispute with neighbours over a prolonged period and matters had been reported to police.

“It was clear this issue severely affected her mental state and was the catalyst,” Mrs Johnson said.

“Allegations were made against her which were unfounded. She was taken into custody which affected her mental health. She took the brunt of the dispute and that affected her work. Her suspension from work was a factor and she felt she was not able to carry on.”

In tribute to her daughter, mother Maaike Luikens said Sytske, who she called “Sylvia” throughout the hearing, said she had a happy childhood growing up in Alford, Lincolnshire, attending John Spendluffe School.

She later moved to Hungerford where she managed a bar.

She had a baby with a local RAF serviceman but they later separated. After meeting her friend, Darren Vickers, they bought and renovated a home in Bentley Street, Cleethorpes.

She had another child in 2009. The inquest heard she took an overdose in April 2021 and was taken to hospital. Maaike Luikens said other neighbours in the street had problems with their daughter’s neighbours.

“She was a loving person and she loved her children. She was a fantastic mother,” she said.

The mother said Humberside Police had never been able to prosecute those responsible for harassment and criminal damage to her daughter’s property. When a pellet was fired through her front window, she became deeply upset.

Mrs Johnson passed her condolences to the parents Maaike and Frederik Luikens, who sat through the hearing with a photograph of their daughter.

“You should be very proud of her. She had achieved a lot and was clearly a loving mother,” she said.

The assistant coroner heard evidence from senior managers at mental health and social care provider, Navigo. They said changes had taken place within the service to ensure there was not a repeat of the tragedy, involving Ms Luikens.

The Serious Incident Review showed there had been pressures on qualified staff dealing with other clients at the time Ms Luikens’ mental health deteriorated and she was given care by support staff, rather than fully-qualified experts. The assistant coroner said she hoped the recommendations for changes would be implemented and continue to be used to prevent further tragedies.

She was told there are three vacancies for qualified practitioners within a normal establishment of 12 qualified staff. The parents said it would not have made any difference in preventing their daughter from taking her own life.

Mrs Johnson said: “The failings that occurred would not have prevented it.”

Following the tragedy, Humberside Police Chief Superintendent Darren Wildbore said: “Our Professional Standards department carries out a full and thorough review of any incident where a person has died after we have recently been in contact with them to ascertain whether our actions may have contributed directly or indirectly to the circumstances of the death.