Page last updated at 16:47 GMT, Tuesday, 19 January 2010

ME daughter was 'determined to die'

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

The father of a bed-ridden girl whose mother helped her to die says his daughter had attempted suicide before.

Richard Gilderdale was speaking at the trial at Lewes Crown Court of his ex-wife Bridget Kathleen Gilderdale, of Stonegate, East Sussex.

She is accused of the attempted murder of their 31-year-old daughter, Lynn, who suffered from ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) on 4 December, 2008.

Mrs Gilderdale denies attempted murder but admits aiding and abetting suicide.

'Unwavering support'

Mr Gilderdale, a former police officer, described his daughter's quality of life as "less than poor".

After developing the debilitating illness at 14 she became paralysed and unable to swallow, meaning she had to be fed through a tube.

Mr Gilderdale said during the 17 years of his daughter's illness both he and his ex-wife had given her "unwavering support".

He said "We have always stood side by side for Lynn and we continued right to the very end.

"Lynn always regarded us a team, that's how she addressed us."

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

He explained how his daughter had developed a fear of hospitals following a "catalogue" of errors during her treatment.

In 2005 she had to be placed on life support after her lung was punctured during a procedure to change her intravenous catheter.

She had also claimed she was sexually abused by a senior health professional at a London hospital - something which was being investigated by the Metropolitan Police at the time of her death.

Crushed tablets

Mr Gilderdale told the court that his daughter attempted to kill herself with a morphine overdose in mid-2007 and had contacted Dignitas, the Swiss-based assisted dying clinic.

Earlier the prosecution told the court how Mrs Gilderdale gave her daughter two syringes of morphine at 0300 GMT on 3 December, which Miss Gilderdale administered herself through an intravenous catheter directly into her vein.

Mrs Gilderdale then searched the house for tablets which she 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.

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

The case continues.

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