THE depressed daughter of the 6th Earl of Bradford took a massive paracetamol overdose after penning a four-page suicide letter to friends and family, an inquest at Westminster coroners' court was told, yesterday.

The body of Lady Serena Mary Bridgeman, 51, whose Dell House estate lies on the shores of Loch Ness, was found at her other home, a flat in Westgate Terrace, Chelsea, were she lived alone, on January 16, this year.

Raised at the ancestral home at Weston Park, near Shifnal, Shropshire, no family members - who include her brothers Richard, the Earl of Bradford, Charles, and sister Lady Caroline Garnell - attended the inquest, but in a statement, Lady Caroline confirmed Lady Serena had a history of depression.

A leading campaigner for the Countryside Alliance and the Conservative Party, she married banker Richard Andrew at 29, but they divorced 10 years later after her husband's affair with the Duke of Marlborough's daughter, Lady Henrietta Churchill. Mr Andrew died in May last year, from cancer.

She had seen psychiatrists at the Priory Clinic in Roehampton, south-west London, and Lady Caroline said: ''The family were aware of two tablets overdoses in the last two years.''

Family and friends became concerned for her safety, after losing touch the weekend she returned from an unhappy trip to Cape Town, and one friend used a spare set of keys to enter her flat and found her dead in bed.

Officers from Kensington police station recovered a large number of empty tablet containers. Mostly consisting of paracetamol, and Dr Iain West, the pathologist, found a massive level of paracetamol, consistent with paracetamol poisoning.

Recording a suicide verdict, Dr Paul Knapman, the coroner said: ''I have no doubt she was responsible for her actions and while depressed killed herself.''

Lady Serena, who had two step-children, was popular with locals who lived on and around her Highland estate, and her lavish 50th birthday party, to which all were invited, is still talked about.

Angie Barclay, housekeeper at Dell Hall, said: ''It was a shock to everyone when we heard she had died.''