Kay Gilderdale charged after her daughter’s death

April 16, 2009

Mrs Kay Gilderdale will appear before Brighton magistrates next Tuesday (April 21) charged with the attempted murder of her daughter Lynn between December 2 and December 4. Lynn, aged 31 who had been ill with since the age of 14, was found dead at her home in Stonegate, Heathfield, East Sussex, on December 4.

Sussex Police said today: ""Kathleen Gilderdale, 54, of Stonegate, has been charged that between December 2 and December 4, 2008, she attempted to murder Lynn Gilderdale, who was found dead at her home in Stonegate, near Heathfield, on December 4 last year.

"She has been bailed to appear at Brighton Magistrates' Court on Tuesday next week."

The investigation into the death was led by Sussex Police's major crime branch.

Following Ms Gilderdale's death her family issued a statement through Sussex Police which described her as "young, beautiful, loving and caring".

She fell ill after receiving a vaccination for TB when she was 14-years-old and was diagnosed with ME after suffering from bronchitis, tonsillitis and glandular fever. The illness left her unable to walk, talk or even drink.

This comment from the Crown Prosecution Service was reported this afternoon on The Times website:

Derek Frame, a Crown Prosecution Service lawyer, said: “I have advised Sussex Police that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to charge Kathleen Gilderdale with the attempted murder of her daughter Lynette.

“In reviewing the evidence in this case, I also considered the offences of murder and assisted suicide. In order to support a charge of murder, the prosecution would have to prove that Mrs Gilderdale’s actions significantly contributed to her daughter’s death.

“There was insufficient evidence to prove this. In relation to assisted suicide, whilst this offence was considered, I decided that a charge of attempted murder more accurately reflected Mrs Gilderdale’s actions and intentions.”

Posted on the Brighton Evening Argus website this afternoon:

Kathleen Gilderdale, known as Kay, will appear in court next week accused of trying to kill 31-year-old Lynn Gilderdale, who she had nursed for 17 years as she struggled with the condition.

Mrs Gilderdale, 54, was arrested on December 4 after she informed Sussex Police her daughter was dead at their home in Lymden Close in Stonegate, near Heathfield.

She has been charged with attempting to murder Miss Gilderdale between December 2 and December 4.

Mrs Gilderdale has been released on bail and is due to appear at Brighton Magistrates' Court on Tuesday, April 21.

It was reported in the national press at the time of the arrest that Miss Gilderdale had died of a suspected overdose.

In an interview published in July 2006, Gilderdale described how her daughter's life was left "in limbo" due to the illness.

She said: "If someone dies, you mourn them, then you get to a stage where you know that person is gone and you move on.

"But Lynn is neither one nor the other.

"She is stuck in that room, not dead, but not alive properly."

In the wake of her death, relatives of Ms Gilderdale praised the young woman's "courage, which she showed to the end" in coping with her "life destroying" illness.

They said her death would "leave a massive void in their lives" and added "she unreservedly will be missed every minute of the day".

Their statement went on: "Lynn was young, beautiful, loving and caring.

"At the age of 14 years she was struck down by ME – an illness greatly misunderstood – and, as a result, suffered the stigma attached to this dreadful illness.

"She fought long and hard for 17 years with immense bravery, enduring constant pain and sickness. Every system of her body was affected.

"She required 24-hour care that was provided by her totally dedicated mother, with continuous support from Lynn's father."

Describing the debilitating effects the illness had on her body, the statement added: "Lynn suffered many hospital admissions, sometimes lasting several months, for life-threatening conditions.

"Prior to her illness, which left her paralysed, unable to speak, eat or drink and, until recently, no memory, she was an active healthy teenager full of life's dreams.

"She enjoyed sailing, swimming, cycling and was an accomplished musician."

Following the death, her family vowed to continue to campaign for a "better understanding" of ME.

Some 250,000 people are estimated to be affected by ME (Myalgic Encephalopathy) in Britain, according to The ME Association.

Common symptoms include severe and debilitating fatigue, painful muscles and joints, disordered sleep, gastric disturbances and poor memory and concentration.

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