Mother took own life to be with son who died in house fire

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A woman whose eight-year-old son was killed in a house fire hanged herself two weeks later because she wanted to be with him, an inquest has heard.

Lucas Carter died in the fire at the family home in Sandbach on October 30 last year.

His mother Kelly-Anne, 35, suffered serious burns in the blaze and was described by onlookers as screaming outside while firefighters went in to rescue her son from the property.

An inquest at Crewe Municipal Buildings today heard she was found hanged at the home of her partner, Andrew Hough, on November 12, 2016.

The court was told Miss Carter had been discharged from hospital three days before her death despite reportedly earlier telling staff she would hang herself or overdose once she was home.

Her friend Sarah Blakey said Miss Carter had told her she wanted to commit suicide but would wait until after Lucas's funeral, which was held the Friday after she died.

Ms Blakey told the hearing: "She said, 'I'm a dead woman walking'.

"She didn't want to be here without Lucas, she couldn't forgive herself.

"He was her world. To her he was her greatest achievement and he was lovely, he was an absolute credit."

Mr Hough, who did not attend the inquest, told police he had seen Miss Carter sleeping on the sofa downstairs at his home at about 5.30am on November 12 but when he went back downstairs at about 9.40am he found she had hanged herself.

The inquest heard the mother-of-one was assessed by mental health practitioners while receiving treatment for her burns at Wythenshawe Hospital, and on November 7 she was detained under the Mental Health Act and transferred to Macclesfield Hospital.

Medical notes saying she had expressed an intention to hang herself or take an overdose once discharged were not passed to the mental health team at Macclesfield because of a change in system, the hearing was told.

Sumit Sehgal, a psychiatrist for Cheshire and Wirral Partnership (CWP) NHS Foundation Trust, said when he spoke to Miss Carter on November 8 she told him she felt responsible for her son's death because she had lit candles and left them unattended.

But he said she denied having specific plans to kill herself and was "looking to rebuild her life".

Miss Carter was kept in hospital for a further day but was discharged the following morning after another assessment.

Asked if having information about her earlier comments on suicide would have changed his decision to discharge her, Dr Sehgal said: "It's possible it might have."

Sally Sanderson, general manager at CWP, told the court an action plan had been put in place for the trust following Miss Carter's death.

She said comments made by Miss Carter during her assessment at Wythenshawe Hospital were not passed on because Cheshire East Council had moved to a different recording system, which was not shared with CWP, but steps had been taken to stop that happening again.

The inquest is expected to conclude this afternoon.

An inquest into Lucas's death has not yet been held.

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