Page last updated at 15:47 GMT, Monday, 18 January 2010

ME mother 'helped daughter die' with morphine syringes

Bridget Kathleen Gilderdale
Mrs Gilderdale admits aiding and abetting the suicide of her daughter

A mother helped end the life of her bed-bound daughter by handing her two syringes of morphine, a court heard.

Bridget Kathleen Gilderdale, 55, of Stonegate, East Sussex, is accused of the attempted murder of her 31-year-old daughter, Lynn on 4 December, 2008.

Lynn Gilderdale developed the debilitating illness ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) aged 14.

Mrs Gilderdale denies attempted murder at Lewes Crown Court but admits aiding and abetting suicide.

Miss Gilderdale's illness left her bed-bound and unable to swallow, meaning she was fed through a tube.

Prosecutor Sally Howes QC told the court Mrs Gilderdale spoke to her daughter for about an hour, telling her it was "not the right time" but Miss Gilderdale insisted it was time for her "to go".

Crushed tablets

She said at about 0300 GMT on 3 December Mrs Gilderdale gave her daughter two syringes of morphine, which Miss Gilderdale administered herself through an intravenous catheter directly into her vein.

Ms Howes said: "At about 6am, Kay felt that the morphine had not achieved Lynn's aim of killing herself and so Kay searched the house for tablets."

Lynn Gilderdale
Lynn Gilderdale had suffered from ME for about 17 years

The court was told the tablets were crushed with a pestle and mortar and administered through a feeding tube in Miss Gilderdale's nose.

Later at about 0200 GMT on 4 December, Mrs Gilderdale gave her daughter two or three doses of morphine directly into the intravenous catheter and later gave her three syringes of air.

Ms Howes said Mrs Gilderdale telephoned the assisted suicide organisation Exit in the hope of gaining further advice before giving Miss Gilderdale a further eight tablets.

Miss Gilderdale died at 0710 GMT. A post-mortem examination found that the cause of death was morphine toxicity.

Ms Howes said: "It is the prosecution's case that when Mrs Gilderdale realised that the two large doses of morphine that she provided to Lynn, that Lynn self-administered to try to end her life... instead of then realising that her daughter's suicide had gone horribly wrong, she then set about, over the next 30 hours, in performing actions which were designed with no other intention other than terminating her daughter's life.

"The further morphine, the further cocktail of drugs, the injecting of air - all designed to terminate her daughter's life. It wasn't done to make her better, it was done to make sure she died."

The case continues.

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