Vicki Archer’s stepdad ‘begged for help’ as BBC host took her own life

BBC radio host Vicki Archer’s stepdad pleaded for a ladder to get into her house after she left work part-way through a show and killed herself.

The 41-year-old mom-of-three told colleagues she was “upset” when she walked out of the Radio Shropshire slot she co-hosted at 5 p.m.

Three hours later, she was found dead in her home by stepdad Lee Holyoake, 64.

Neighbor Chris Williams, 82, recalled the evening on Aug. 6 when Archer took her own life at her three-bedroom house in Shrewsbury.

Williams said: “I was in my kitchen making the dinner with my daughter just after 5 p.m.”

“We saw Vicki park her car on our road and walk past the window towards her house.”

“I said to my daughter, ‘Vicki’s home early.’ It was odd for two reasons — she should have been on the local radio until 7 p.m. and she was not using her own driveway.”

“Later on we were sitting in the garden enjoying the heatwave when we heard a knock at the door. It was Vicki’s stepfather and he was asking if he could borrow a ladder.”

“My daughter got one from our neighbor and went with her stepfather while he climbed up the ladder and got into the house via a bedroom window.”

“He came down and didn’t say anything. Later we saw all the emergency services at the house and knew something tragic must have happened.”

Paying Archer, Williams, a retired care manager, added: “She was such a jolly and bubbly woman with a beautiful smile and three lovely children. It’s just so sad to think she’s not here anymore.”

Another neighbor, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “It’s a complete tragedy. My son was at school with Vicki in the same year group and they are all devastated by what has happened.”

“I used to see her riding out on her bike at the weekend with her three children. They looked so happy and she always had this vibrant personality.”

“She was so bubbly on the radio and always having a laugh. If anyone ever mentioned dunking biscuits she would go mad as she was very opposed to it.”

Another neighbor, who did not want to be named, added: “She was a very private person but she had a lovely smile and would always give you a cheery hello. It’s just very sad.”

Archer, who had split from her husband, suffered from depression and had made two previous suicide bids, the Shropshire coroner’s court heard.

She’d also tweeted about “hurtful gossip” in the days before her death.

On Wednesday, Coroner John Ellery concluded Archer died as a result of suicide.

A statement read to the hearing on behalf of Holyoake said he made efforts to revive her but she was pronounced dead by paramedics at about 8:20 p.m.

In his statement, Holyoake said “alarm bells started to ring” after he and Archer’s 73-year-old mom Beryl were told she had left work early and got no response when knocking at her door.

In a statement issued after the inquest, members of the radio host’s family said: “We still cannot believe that Vicki’s not here.”

“Her zest for life was infectious, she was a wonderful mother and daughter, and her charm brought a smile to all those who knew her. She could light up a room.”

“While we will always miss her, we want to remember and celebrate everything that she achieved, which is why, in the spring, we are planning a memorial celebration of her life.”

“But in the meantime, we want to thank everyone for their support and kindness helping us through our immeasurable loss.”

David Jennings, the BBC’s head of regional programs for the West Midlands, said: “We are heartbroken at Vicki’s death.”

“Everyone here at Radio Shropshire respected her as a great [host] and journalist, but so much more than that we loved the sense of fun she brought to her shows and the station.”

“Her loss leaves a huge void. Our thoughts are with her family at this sad time.”

Archer hosted the afternoon drivetime show at BBC Radio Shropshire with co-host Adam Green since 2010.

She had also had a successful career in commercial radio and as an event host and voiceover artist.

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