Newcastle mum's anguish as second daughter dies 12 years after balcony fall tragedy

Adele Latham
Adele Latham -Credit:Handout

She thought she would never again know pain like that she felt when her daughter fell to her death from a city balcony.

But already heartbroken Lynne Latham is now struggling to come to terms with the loss of a second child. Jenna Latham was just 21 years old when she fell after climbing over the railings at her Newcastle home, in 2011. Then 12 years later Jenna's older sister Adele, was found dead in a city centre flat.

A coroner today ruled that Adele, who had battled addiction for years, died after taking a mixture of drugs including the heroin substitute methadone. And now after enduring the torture of sitting through a second inquest for one of her children Lynne has told the Chronicle of her agony.

Jenna Latham, right, with her sister, Adele
Jenna Latham, right, with her sister, Adele -Credit:Handout

The 56-year-old said: "When I found out I just didn't want to be here. There's no words to describe losing two children. Adele never got over what happened to Jenna. She had never grieved for Jenna."

Adele struggled with drug, alcohol and mental health problems throughout her adult life, which the inquest heard was in part due to her grief at the loss of Jenna. Newcastle coroner, Georgina Nolan, heard how in the months before the 35-year-old died she had been trying to overcome her addictions. She was attending regular appointments with the Newcastle Treatment and Recovery Service (NTaR‍) and had been prescribed methadone.

But during the early hours of May 29 she was pronounced dead after paramedics were called to a flat on Summerhill Terrace in Newcastle city centre where she was found unconscious. The inquest heard a statements from paramedic Greg Douglas who said there were two men and a woman at the flat with Adele when they arrived. There was also drug paraphenalia close to where Adele was found lying on a mattress. One man, Adele's boyfriend Christopher Scott, left before police arrived, but Lois Upton and Michael Stead gave statements to officers.

Mr Stead said he had been out with Ms Upton in the city centre when he got a phonecall from Mr Scott who told him his girlfriend was dead. Mr Stead said he returned to the flat and attempted to do CPR on Adele while Mr Scott rang for an ambulance. But he said Mr Scott "panicked" and left.

Adele Latham
Adele Latham -Credit:Handout

Pathologist Dr Louise Mulcahy, who carried out a post mortem, said toxicology tests revealed that Adele had a number of substances in her blood when she died. She said: "A number of the drugs cause sedation, this can cause the person to breath more slowly and can cause a coma and result in death. There was nothing external to indicate an assault."

The inquest was also told how Adele had been admitted to hospital around two weeks before she died for treatment for pancreatitis, which Dr Mulcahy said was a contributing factor in Adele's death and had probably been caused by her drinking.

She said: "The most likely cause was her alcohol misuse."

The inquest also heard from Sgt Adam Huitson who had been Northumbria Police's Acting Inspector for the area on the night Adele died. He explained how officers that attended the scene found no evidence that any third party was involved and after liasing with CID her death was categorized as being drug related.

Det Sgt Simon Wardle, of Northumbria Police, carried out an investigation into Adele's death on behalf of the coroner. He told the inquest that Mr Scott was initially treated as a drug supply suspect, but after tracking him down and examining his mobile phones no evidence of this was found.

"He was arrested for drugs supply," he said. "I was very comfortable that there was no third party involvement with regards to an assault. A homicide was never really a consideration. There was no suspicion there had been anything other than a drugs death."

Coroner Ms Nolan concluded that Adele's death would be recorded as drug and alcohol related.

She said: "Adele Latham had a long history of substance misuse, dating back to 2010. She had suffered trauma from her sister's death in 2011. It is a great tragedy that despite Adele's attempts to seek support it was her use of drugs and alcohol that led to her death at such a young age."

After the inquest Lynne told how her daughter, who grew-up in Heaton, had been determined to get her life back on track in the months before she died.

Jenna Latham
Jenna Latham -Credit:Handout

"She was really trying," she said. "She came to stay with us in December and she was more herself. She really wanted to get better.

"She had it on my calendar. Every day was appointments. She was so loving, she used to tell me she loved me so much."

Adele's death is the third tragedy to hit her family. Lynne's mother May was murdered by her dad David Brown in 1983, when she was just 15, then Jenna's death ripped her world apart further.

A coroner recorded a verdict of death by misadventure in relation to Jenna.