13 Jul 2018

Coroner rules Levin woman's death a suicide after sessions with 'healer'

3:47 pm on 13 July 2018

The death of a Levin woman, who spent more than $23,000 on an American who described himself as "one of the world's most powerful healers", has been deemed a suicide.


Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Anna Godfrey, who was 55, died in July last year and the Coroner's findings into her death have been released today.

Coroner Tim Scott ruled she died as a result of multiple drug toxicity, with coronary artery sclerosis as a contributing cause.

In his findings he refers to sessions Mrs Godfrey held with both a New Zealand-based healer and the American, Ed Strachar.

Mr Scott said there was evidence she paid at least $23,543 for consultations with Mr Strachar.

He said there was no evidence of Mr Strachar's qualifications and his dealings with Mrs Godfrey were "rude and unprofessional".

"He seemed to dish out a fair measure of abuse ... tough love if you like," the coroner's report read.

"The most obvious reference to this is where he offered for 15-minute 'tune-ups' for $1500 telling [her] they included a free 'kick up the arse'. He also said to her 'it seems you like to own diseases and illnesses and not apply what you have learnt. Congratulations you have got there by choice or are you still hopeless little Anna the victim'."

Mrs Godfrey also interacted with a New Zealand-based healer, who has permanent name suppression.

The self-titled "spiritual teacher and master soul healer" had a certificate issued by Mr Strachar confirming attendance and passing of a course of study mentored by him.

The healer said they were just a friend of Mrs Godfrey, however, Mr Scott said he considered the healer to be Mrs Godfrey's primary support person.

"[They were] certainly the only local person who had knowledge of how serious Anna's condition actually was," the coroner's report stated.

Mr Scott said had Mrs Godfrey received appropriate medical treatment, the outcome may have been different.

"[Mr Godfrey] knew that things were not right with [Mrs Godfrey]. However [he] did not know the nature or the extent of [her] stress. Had he known there is no reason for me to think that he would not have told her doctor and taken steps to see that she received urgent mental health treatment," the coroner's report said.

"There was no mention to her doctor that she was, in fact, feeling so depressed that she was considering taking her life.

"The only one who had the correct information was [the healer] and [they] kept it to [themselves]."

Mrs Godfrey left two notes before her death, one each for her husband and daughter.

Where to get help:

Need to Talk? Free call or text 1737 any time to speak to a trained counsellor, for any reason.

Lifeline: 0800 543 354

Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 / 0508 TAUTOKO (24/7). This is a service for people who may be thinking about suicide, or those who are concerned about family or friends.

Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757 (24/7)

Samaritans: 0800 726 666 (24/7)

Youthline: 0800 376 633 (24/7) or free text 234 (8am-12am), or email talk@youthline.co.nz

What's Up: online chat (7pm-10pm) or 0800 WHATSUP / 0800 9428 787 children's helpline (1pm-10pm weekdays, 3pm-10pm weekends)

Kidsline (ages 5-18): 0800 543 754 (24/7)

Rural Support Trust Helpline: 0800 787 254

Healthline: 0800 611 116

Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155

If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.