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Girl angered by mum's drinking took overdose.

Byline: By TRYST WILLIAMS Western Mail

A schoolgirl died when she took an overdose in protest at her mother's drinking, an inquest heard yesterday. Hannah Parkin was upset after finding her mum still hungover the afternoon after a night out. And when her mother Claire, who had a history of drink problems, started drinking again the 13-year-old became angry.

The inquest heard she swallowed a handful of her mother's heart pills and died the next day in hospital.

Single mother Claire Crookdale, 38, wept as the inquest was told her teenage daughter had found her drunk after a night out.

The inquest in Cardiff was told that Hannah and best friend Lisa Meek came home from a sleepover to find Claire still suffering from the effects of drink at 1pm.

Detective Constable Malcolm Brown said, 'She was still upset in the evening after her mother started drinking again. She spoke to her mother about it.'

When Claire went to bed at 9.30pm, Hannah picked up her mother's beta blocker pills.

She then asked Lisa, 'Will you come to my funeral when I die?' before taking the tablets into the bathroom of her home in the Fairwater area of Cardiff.

The inquest heard she was in the bathroom for almost 40 minutes before telling Lisa she had taken her mother's pills.

Detective Constable Brown added, 'Lisa did not believe her but after 15 minutes Hannah became delirious and the emergency services were called.'

Pathologist Dr Stephen Leadbetter said the amount of pills Hannah had swallowed was enough to have killed her.

But Cardiff coroner Dr Lawrence Addicott said he was not convinced that Hannah had meant to kill herself.

He said, 'She had become angry at the situation at home and on impulse took her mother's medication without realising the consequences.'

The coroner recorded a verdict of misadventure.

Afterwards Claire said Hannah, who was a pupil at Cardiff's Whitchurch High School was a 'lovely girl and my best friend'.

She said, 'I've had drink problems in the past but they are behind me now.

'I went out drinking that night but it was a one-off.

'But Hannah was very upset and I think she was trying to punish me. She didn't mean to kill herself. She loved horse riding and had everything to live for.'

A recent government report into the problem estimated that between 200,000 and 300,000 children in England and Wales - three in every 100 under-16s - have parents who are 'problem drug users', a term that includes alcohol misuse.

Among the issues reported by children in such situations are feelings of guilt, anxiety and money problems.

Kevin Gibbs, a spokesman for NSPCC Cymru, said, 'The key point is that children do need someone to turn to about issues that are bothering them, worrying them or concerning them. This goes for all children and young people.

'They can get help and they can get information and the key is that they don't try and deal with situations like this on their own.

'It's difficult enough for adults to deal with people with substance misuse problems and it's impossible for children and young people to deal with this issue in their families on their own.

'They need someone to turn to even if it's just to talk about the problem or to get resources.': Help is available:Useful helpline numbers for children and young people needing help: Childline, 0800 1111; NSPCC, 0808 800 5000; Alateen and Al-Anon Family Groups, specifically for families and friends of those with a drink problem, 020 7403 0888.
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Title Annotation:News Ban Young Guns
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Feb 26, 2005
Words:595
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