Inquest hears of row over washing up

A MOTHER from Huntingdon died from a brain haemorrhage after a row with her partner over the washing up. Anthea Lehane, 60, of Frobisher Close died on July 24 last year at Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdon. The retired cleaner was taken to hospital

A MOTHER from Huntingdon died from a brain haemorrhage after a row with her partner over the washing up.

Anthea Lehane, 60, of Frobisher Close died on July 24 last year at Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdon.

The retired cleaner was taken to hospital after a domestic incident at her home on June 12 2007.

At an inquest held at Huntingdon Law Courts on Friday, Det Sgt Martin Elmer said Richard Sable, Ms Lehane's partner called an ambulance at just after 10pm.


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In that phone call Mr Sable said that during a domestic argument he had "semi-pushed" his partner and she had fallen and hit her head.

When the emergency services arrived they found Ms Lehane sitting on the doorstep "bleeding from her head".

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At the time, mother of one, Ms Lehane said: "He pushed me and I fell and hit my head on the wooden dresser".

Mr Sable was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm but was later released without charge.

In a police interview, Mr Sable said a minor argument had developed over the washing up and Ms Lehane had flicked a tea towel into his face.

He said he grabbed hold of her wrists, let go and she fell. Mr Sable said he "didn't push or assault her in any way".

The Crown Prosecution Service decided not to proceed with criminal proceedings.

Det Sgt Elmer said because Mr Sable claimed that Ms Lehane was flicking a tea towel in his face, the action of grabbing her wrists was self-defence.

He added that the indication was the couple's "relationship had gone badly wrong over the years" and they "led very separate lives at the same address".

A post-mortem examination carried out by Dr Nat Cary said the traumatic head injury might have been due to a shove or a push by a third party.

In recording an open verdict, coroner David Morris, said Ms Lehane's death was "directly attributable to the incident on June 12".

He added: "I am not satisfied that this was a pure accident. The exact circumstances of how she fell are a matter of dispute."

Speaking at the inquest, Ms Lehane's daughter, Claire Whitmore said she had not had a relationship with her mother for seven years because of Mr Sable.

Mrs Whitmore, of Norfolk Road, said: "I gave up my mum seven years ago because of this man and now I've lost her for good."

Speaking after the inquest, Mrs Whitmore, said that her mother had become withdrawn since starting a relationship with Mr Sable.

Mrs Whitmore, 37, said: "She changed from being a chatty, friendly individual to a withdrawn and depressed person I didn't recognise".

Although the pair had fallen out over the relationship, Ms Lethane's injury had pulled them back together.

"I visited her everyday when she was in hospital. I sat at her side talking to her hoping she would wake up," said mother of three, Mrs Whitmore.

When she did wake from her coma, the mother and daughter shared one last special moment.

Breaking down in tears Mrs Whitmore said: "I'd been waiting weeks for her to open her eyes, then one day they finally opened. She fixed them on me and she cupped my face with her hands and mouthed the words 'I love you' as tears started rolling down her cheeks. It was a magical moment and one that I will remember forever."

That was the last communication she had with her mother, as shortly after her organs started failing and doctors turned off the machines.

"I'm glad we had closure," said Mr Whitmore. "But I still feel guilty because I feel like I turned my back on her. I wish I had stood by her and offered more support. Towards the end of her life she was very unhappy, lonely and lost and I think she just gave up."

The death was even more distressing as doctors had been planning to transfer Ms Lehane to a normal ward and she had been making plans to move in with her daughter.

"I really missed not having my mum in my life and we were planning on starting a new life together, but we never got the chance," said Mrs Whitmore.

"The most important thing is she died in my arms. She gave me life and I stayed with her until the end and no one can take that away. We may not have seen eye to eye but we were together at the end."

Picture caption: HAPPIER TIMES: Anthea, 17 on her engagement day to husband-to-be John Lehane.

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