Mother arrested after death of sick daughter

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The Independent Online

The mother of an ME sufferer has been arrested by police on suspicion of murder after the death of her acutely ill daughter, it emerged today.

Kay Gilderdale was released on bail pending further inquiries following the death of her daughter Lynn, 31, who was a prominent figure in campaigning for better understanding of the illness.

Police were called to her home in Stonegate, near Heathfield, East Sussex, at 8.30am on Thursday.

A spokeswoman for Sussex Police said: "A 54-year-old woman from Stonegate, arrested on suspicion of murder, has been interviewed and bailed to return on 6 March."

Kay Gilderdale provided round-the-clock care for her frail daughter alongside Lynn's father Richard.

The investigation is being led by Detective Chief Inspector Andy Griffiths, from Sussex Police's Major Crime Branch.

Rother district police commander Chief Inspector Heather Keating said: "This is a very tragic incident, but we are not looking for anyone else in connection with it."

Relatives of Ms Gilderdale today praised her "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 "the love she gave so unreservedly will be missed every minute of the day".

In a written tribute released through Sussex Police today, her family said: "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 went on: "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."

Her family vowed today to continue to campaign for a "better understanding" of ME.

"She was a much-loved daughter, sister and granddaughter who, despite her illness, always gave love and support to others.

"In life Lynn strove to help the medical profession improve their insight into ME, which affects thousands of people in varying degrees of severity.

"Her dedicated mother, supported by Lynn's family, has pledged to achieve her ultimate goal - for better understanding and recognition of this life- destroying illness."

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

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