'I just remember that horrifying scream, I felt like I couldn't breathe - I had only been speaking to her a few days before'

Mother and daughter
-Credit: (Image: Family handout)

The family of a mum found seriously injured in a front garden who later died have described their ordeal as a 'living hell. ' Karen Youdell, a mother-of-four, was discovered outside a property in Rosebank Road in Newton Heath on July 23, 2023.

The 49-year-old was airlifted to hospital where she remained in a vegetative state for nine months. Tragically, Karen showed no signs of recovery and her family made the heart-wrenching decision to end her life-supporting treatment earlier this month. She passed away on May 8, surrounded by her devastated loved ones.

Her daughter, Leanne Youdell, has now spoken out about the family's ongoing nightmare. "When I got the call, I just screamed," the 29-year-old told the Manchester Evening News. "I just remember that horrifying scream. I felt like I couldn't breathe. I had only been speaking to her a few days before. I still get flashbacks from when I walked into the intensive care unit and saw her. She recovered on the outside and it looked like she was getting better but she wasn't. It reassured you things were going to be okay, but they weren't." For the latest Welsh news delivered to your inbox sign up to our newsletter

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Leanne first heard her mum had been seriously injured the morning after the incident. The mother-of-two received a distressing call informing her that Karen had been rushed to hospital and was unlikely to survive. After making numerous calls to various hospitals, Leanne discovered that her mother had been taken to the intensive care unit at Salford Royal Hospital.

Mother and daughter in room
Leanne with her mum Karen -Credit:Family handout

There, tests revealed that Karen's injuries were so severe that she was in a vegetative state. Over the following days, weeks, and months, Leanne and her family clung onto hope that Karen would show signs of recovery. But while her physical injuries healed over time, Karen never showed any significant signs of life, apart from occasional eye movements. "It's been very hard to get our head around because she did have some reflex moments in her eyes," Leanne added.

"For us, we were looking at our mum from a love perspective. All we wanted to do was see signs. It's just been like a living hell for us. We've been going back and forth from hospital for months seeing her in a vegetative state."

Leanne, who has been raising her younger siblings as well as her own two children, shared the heartbreaking words of her son: "I've been bringing my younger siblings up and I've got two children of my own. My son told me, 'But nana wasn't old.'". The last time he saw her, she was playing on the trampoline with him. Our whole lives have been taken away. She's been suffering in the hospital and now we're left suffering for the rest of our lives."

Tragically, with no improvement in Karen's condition, the heart-wrenching decision was made to cease her life support treatment, and she was transferred to a hospice. "It was horrendous," Leanne said. "It was even worse because we had prepared ourselves for what we were going through, but nothing could prepare you for that."

"Over the next week, she slowly deteriorated and you couldn't help but think this was the wrong decision. But it was the only decision, there was no other option."

Leanne recalled the heart-wrenching moment her mum passed away on May 8, surrounded by family. "It was like we lost her twice," she said. "We lost her the night of the incident. I hadn't heard her voice since then. I put music on and talked to her, although there was no response."

"It was like a different version of her; she became a shell of her own body. It's horrendous. It still feels like a nightmare. For me, I keep wanting to go to sleep at night and wake up and it's all been a dream. But it's reality that's going to hit."

Karen, described as a "loving, vibrant and radiant soul" who "loved and cherished life," is remembered by her family for always finding a reason to be grateful. "She was honestly so energetic and really bright," Leanne reminisced. "She was just so full of life. She spoke to everyone. She was always a people person and loved being up and about. She always got out as early as she could."

"It's so surreal, even though it's real and I watched her pass away. I keep waiting for her to ring me. It's a shock; it happened in an instant and how it happened. I feel like my life is never going to be the same and people can't relate."

A fundraising page has been established to support Karen's family during this distressing period. To contribute, click here.

A man was charged with attempted murder and assault following the discovery of Karen's injuries. Three other people have all been accused of perverting the course of justice.

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