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Mother and her unborn baby die in double tragedy; INQUEST TOLD HOW NOTHING COULD BE DONE TO SAVE THEM.


SHE should have been looking forward to the magical moment of a new baby.

But nothing could be done to save the lives of mum-of three Ashley Roberts and her unborn child after she was rushed to hospital with breathing difficulties.

Surgeons carried out an emergency Caesarean after the 32 year-old died in a bid to save her unborn baby.

But a lack of oxygen is thought to have caused brain damage to the boy, who was named Ashley after his mum, an inquest heard.

Ashley's mum Carol Roberts, and partner Jason Pennock made the agonising decision to turn off his life support machine the next day.

And Carol, of Green Lane, South Shields, told the hearing her heartbreak had been worsened by accusations that Ashley had been taking drugs.

But medical tests showed Ashley died of Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy.

Home office pathologist Dr Stuart Hamilton told the inquest, at South Tyneside Magistrates Court, Ashley was prone to epileptic seizures.

A statement written by her boyfriend and the dad of her unborn child, Jason, said: "Ashley was seven months' pregnant when she died.

"She suffered from depression, and for as long as I have known her she has taken drugs.

"In the weeks leading up to her death, she was smoking heroin. On December 10, I woke up and Ashley was coming out of the bathroom and she suddenly arched her back and sat on the bed. She was complaining about not being able to breath. Both of her arms were locked over her chest and she was pale and sweaty.

"She was saying get an ambulance. Once at the hospital, the doctors told me to try and get her to relax, and she seemed to. But within minutes I saw her eyes go black. The hospital staff started working on her. It was minutes after I was told Ashley had passed away."

South Tyneside coroner Terence Carney said although there were drugs in Ashley's system, he hoped the rumours of an overdose would now be quashed.

He recorded a verdict of natural causes for mum Ashley and death misadventure for baby Ashley.

Mr Carney said: "Initially, in the early days, the thought was that Ashley had died due to a drugs overdose. The doctors quite clearly have said the baby had not in anyway been affected by drugs, which Ashley may have used during her lifetime.

"Any rumours can be rubbished officially now."

Carol added: "I'm glad to have the rumours rubbished. It has been very hard."
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Aug 1, 2008
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