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Agony of 4-year wait for Burnley girl's hanging inquest
THE family of an 18-year-old Burnley girl who was found hanged have spoken of their ‘terrible’ four-and-a-half-year wait for an inquest to investigate what happened during the weeks before her death.
Kayley Howson was found dead at her home, in Rosehill Road, Burnley, on March 2, 2008, after a battle with depression, but her family have had to wait to hear why she died.
Mum Janet Mitchell, 52, said she hoped the two-day inquest, which opens on Monday at Burnley Town Hall, would give her more information on the final few days of her daughter’s life.
She said: “It has been terrible having to wait so long. It is four-and-a-half years ago and we just want to know what happened, and to try and get some closure.
“We had the pre-inquest hearing two years ago, so it has taken a long time since then. A lot of the delay is because two of the doctors involved have emigrated to Australia, and they have had to get other doctors involved and to try and track these doctors down.
“When Kayley died we expected to know what happened quickly, but this has been dragged out and we have been forced to wait and wait.”
Kayley, a health and social care student at Burnley, was on the drug Depakote at the time, and Janet said her daughter had suffered abdominal pains as a result.
The drug has since been criticised in America and the company behind it have faced lawsuits, with claims it was used improperly for schizophrenia, dementia and autism.
Janet said: “She was having a lot of pain as a result of the drug and wanted to go on new medication. Nine days before she died she stopped taking her medication, which is not the way to come off the drug, and I think that caused problems for her.
“Then, a few days before she died, she rang the mental health crisis team and told them she was considering hanging herself and, of course, a few days later that is what she did.”
Janet found her daughter hanging at the top of the stairs at the family home.
She said: “It has been a very difficult time for the family. You never expect that to happen. She was a kind and caring person and it was a massive shock to us all.”
Now the family hope the inquest will shine a light on the treatment Kayley rec-eived in the days before her death, and pinpoint if anything could have been done that may have saved her.
Janet said: “I think some mistakes were made.
“Nobody showed any common sense, and I hope that comes out and we get some changes as a result.”
Kayley, who attended Rosehill Primary School and Gawthorpe High School, had three sisters, Lisa, 32, Catherine, 28, and Jayde, 21.
The coroner’s office was unavailable for comment this week on the reasons for the delay in holding the inquest.