Jane mcqueen(L) / Isabella Bellusci ("Bella") (R)
Nearly a year to the day of her partner passing a transgender woman from the UK took her own life, dealing a devastating blow to everyone who knew them.
I was notified about the passing of Jane Mcqueen yesterday. She and Isabelle Bellusci (Bella) were popular advocates who used the hashtag #TransTwitter
Isabella Bellusci (Bella) passed away on August 16, 2020. Her death was ruled a suicide by the police investigators before the corner or toxicity reports were published. Her partner, Jane was at home that night that Bella came home from a party and came to the conclusion that her death was due to a drug overdose. Jane suspected that her partner had been given ketamine, all of the signs were there.
Jane wrote about the night in detail and her disbelief at the brevity of the investigation that followed. She contested the police ruling but couldn't make public her conclusions until eleven months after Bella's death, a month before she took her own life.
Jane Mcqueen wrote on Medium:
At 4:54 am on that Sunday morning my phone rang and I was shocked to see it was Bella asking me to let her in as she always had some issues with the security gate. On the phone she sounded upset but once inside it was nothing I had ever seen her like before. I knew that I couldn’t leave her in that state as that would just be wrong. So I sat with her for two hours and did all I could to calm her down.
At the time I thought she had maybe had a bit too much to drink and as such she was saying things that were confusing and didn’t make any sees, the other thing that I noticed was the lack of eye contact she was making with me while we talked. Back then I didn’t know that these were significant indications that there was something wrong in a big way.
It is only now, after I experienced psychosis and from what I remember and from what I was told I was like by other people that what I was seeing that morning was some form of psychosis. If I had known that at the time my whole reaction to the situation would have been different.
Were as when I felt she had relaxed and calmed down enough to go back to bed at about 6:30. When I got up I knew Bella had slept in the spare room as not to disturb me when I was asleep. You have to pass the door to that room to go up the stairs and at 9 there was not a sound, so I assumed that she was fast asleep and didn’t want to disturb her.
Being that it was a Sunday and we had no plans I didn’t decide to go for a shower till near lunchtime. It was at that time that I heard that she had Netflix on so hearing that I thought she must be awake so opened the door and the first thing I saw is an image that is burnt into my brain.
The speed I went up and down the stairs to get my phone to dial 999 must have been the quickest I have ever done it. From that point, till the paramedics arrived I was instructed how to do CPR. From that point onwards the day is a total blur.
At that point I can only remember three things happening with some clarity the rest I have no memory of, I don’t even remember that my mum came over. I know I talked to the police that had arrived, but I have no idea what I said to them.
I was then given the worst options to do then, I could have two police officers that were local to her mum tell her what happened or I could make that phone call to her. The only option that I could deal with was making that call myself. It was the hardest phone call I have ever made, I was in floods of tears while doing it.
The next day my legal education kicked in, nothing made sense this was totally out of caricature. The day before we had been talking about our plans we had for the future. I needed to be able to explain this and what happened; I knew there had to be a logical explanation to it. There was no way it could have been an impulsive act, as Bella wasn’t the impulsive type.
The one bonus of such an education is that you generally have friends who are other professionals in different areas. Knowing two doctors and a nurse practitioner I asked for their opinion on what had happened told them everything I knew from when she got home.
All three said the same thing, independently to each other they all said it sounded like drug-induced psychosis. With a bit of investigating and thankfully, Bella had left her laptop accessible and not password protected. I was able to track down someone who was there and was ok talking to me.
They didn’t know much of what Bella was doing as they were in different rooms. Though I was told that the drug that was at the party to be used was Ketamine. A horrible drug one that no humans should ever take.
Taking this information back to the doctors I knew I was directed to a selection of scientific studies of the effects of ketamine on humans and the high risk of inducing psychosis in people with a healthy brain. Even small doses had been shown to induce psychosis.
This is when I went to the detective inspector who was investigating it and told him what I had found out and the scientific papers to show how it was possible. For the next two days, he listened to what I had to say on the theory, only to find out that he had come to his conclusion and had already closed the case.
I was furious at this point but I couldn’t direct it at him as that would just cause problems. He had based his decision on what he saw on the day, what I had said in a huge state of shock. He didn’t wait till the post-mortem had been done nor the toxicology results.
After this, there was a long wait, as because Bella had been dead for longer than a set point they couldn’t do a toxicology screen from her blood. They would need to do it via a tissue sample, but that takes ages. At the end of January or beginning of February, I got a phone call from our liaison officer who had just got the results of the toxicology screen back and knowing what I had done wanted to make sure I was ok to carry on.
She read the results out over the phone to me, and there were things I knew would show up as tissue samples can detect up to 90 days after use. But then there was the last one, ketamine the only thing I couldn’t account for why it was there. The only explanation was that it was taken at the party, I didn’t know if it was voluntary or not, and no one at the party at this point would say anything to me.
I still had the scientific papers on ketamine-induced psychosis on my computer so with the toxicology showing it to be present I submitted the papers to be considered as evidence that would explain what happened.
As someone who has experienced psychosis myself I can say that when someone is in a state like that, they are not really in control of their actions. Their worldview becomes distorted and irrational ideas are common to think about and then try to act on them.
As I sit and think about it, with the knowledge I know have and the evidence that the police got from the toxicology tests. What happened could have easily happened with just a small amount of it, be it taken voluntarily or not.
With the ability to look at what happened that day suicide just does not fit with what happened in my opinion. Drug-induced psychosis to me feels like a more logical explanation, a situation that was a tragic accident. All the evidence that is available substantiates this option too.
I have been holding this information private for 11 months, and now that I am allowed to put it out there it feels like a huge weight has been lifted from me", wrote Mcqueen.
Bella and @planetrans followed each other on Twitter but I hardly knew her.
We should remember both Jane and Bella by what she wrote about her partner's passing on Medium.
"We should remember things like how she would selflessly help others who asked her for help about all sorts of things.
She was a shining light in the trans community, encouraging others to follow the path that they wanted to provide the reassurance that embracing who you are is something positive to do and will lead you to have a happy and positive life."
Rest in Peace Bella and Jane.