A MAN has been charged with manslaughter after the daughter of a prominent community campaigner was found dead in a bedsit.

Sarah Elizabeth McEwen, 24, was discovered in the Clarenden Street area of Bedford, which is well known for its drug problems.

She had been living in Clapham after moving south from Darwen.

An ambulance crew desperately tried to revive Sarah on Saturday morning, June 20, but she died a short time later at Bedford South Wing Hospital.

A post mortem examination proved inconclusive and her cause of death has yet to be confirmed. Police are now awaiting the results of further toxicology tests. Manchester born Lesley Sweeney, 28, of Bedford, was arrested the same day. He has appeared in court charged with her killing and was remanded in custody.

Sarah leaves three young children and is the second member of the McEwen family to die in tragic circumstances. Her brother, Tommy McEwen, took a fatal drug overdose at the age of 21 in October, 1992.

At the time, Moira Barrett, 50, mother to both Sarah and Tommy and chairman of Blackburn with Darwen Council's Federation of Tenants, said she wanted his death to be a lesson to others.

Earlier this year, Moira married Coun Mike Barrett, who represents the Earcroft ward, Darwen.

The couple, of Anchor Avenue, Darwen, were too upset to talk about the circumstances surrounding the tragedy. Mr Barrett said: "It is a private family matter which we do not want to comment on."

A funeral cortege will leave Anchor Avenue tomorrow for a requiem mass at 1pm at Sacred Heart and St Edward's RC Church, Darwen, followed by internment at Darwen Eastern Cemetery.

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