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The Manchester Evening News
By LUCY VARLEY
12:06, 18 MAY 2016 Updated12:21, 18 MAY 2016
Kerrie Backhouse had been forced to take her ex-partner to court to have their 13-year-old son’s remains released following his death. He died after being given a morphine pill to treat a headache
A tragic mum who had to battle for the right to scatter her son’s ashes after he was killed by his drug-addict Dad died from an accidental overdose an inquest heard.
As she grieved for 13-year-old Kye, Kerrie Backhouse, 42, was forced to take her ex-partner Kevin Morton, 49, to court to have their son’s remains released.
Morton, who killed Kye by giving him a morphine pill to treat a headache, exploited a legal loophole on parental rights to stop her getting access to his ashes.
Miss Backhouse’s lawyers were successful but following the tragedy and legal battle she became depressed and took sedatives and other pills to help her sleep.
Last January, just 24 hours before she was due to arrange a burial plot for Kye, she was found dead at home in Little Hulton, by her oldest son Liam, 25.
Tests showed she had had codeine, diazepam and duloxetine in her system along with the drug quetiapin which she used as a sedative. Police and her family told the Bolton hearing it was unlikely she had intended to take her own life.
Kye, from Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, had passed away in October 2014 after Morton, a prescription drug addict, supplied him with one of morphine pills to help cure his headache and help him sleep. He was jailed for four years for manslaughter in July last year but then refused to sign paperwork preventing Miss Backhouse from scattering Kye’s ashes without his permission.
Miss Backhouse was initially so distraught at her son’s death she had threatened to leap from a bridge and took overdoses of paracetomol. But she rallied and set up a petition demanding a change in the law over child burials, lobbying politicians so that others would not have to endure the same ordeal as her.
Kerrie’s mother Christine Backhouse told the hearing: “Kerrie was a wonderful person. When Kye passed away, she threatened to throw herself from a bridge and had taken overdoses of paracetamol in the past, but at the time of her death she showed no signs of low mood or any intention of taking her own life.
“She finally got hold of Kye’s ashes just before Christmas last year, and looked forward to securing a plot on which to scatter them. The day before her death, she was arranging the plot for Kye.
“She was so excited to finally give him the resting place he deserved. Her dad and older son Liam were planning to do her bathroom up for her, and she couldn’t wait to see it finished.
“Prior to her death, she had not voiced any feelings of depression, or showed any signs of low mood. It was the happiest she had been for a very long time. It was such a relief and so lovely to see her getting better. She had no intention of harming herself.”
Her father Michael Backhouse said: “There were many occasions when she would call me in the early hours of the morning, and I would always accept her calls. We would talk things over until she was feeling better, and then she would go off to sleep. I’d always phone her back in the morning to see how she was feeling. As a father, it felt good to know she could talk to me about her problems.
“The morning of her death, myself and Liam had arranged to do some work on her bathroom. As I pulled up outside her house, I noticed Liam was calling me. He told me he’d found his mum unconscious and because he couldn’t wake her, he thought she was dead. I rushed into the house and tried to wake her. When I couldn’t do so, I phoned the ambulance and performed CPR as instructed.
“When they told me there was nothing more they could do for her, I was heartbroken. I identified her body in the front room of the house. The police officers arrived some time later. The day before her death she was so positive about her life.
“She had started a petition following Kye’s death, hoping she could change the law about child burials. She’d been devastated when she learned she would have to ask Kye’s father for permission despite him being responsible for his death. She didn’t want anybody else to go through that, and was excited to see her campaign through.”
Police Coroner’s Officer Alison Park said: “There were excessive amounts of medication found unopened in the property, so if she had intended to take her own life or harm herself, she could have easily done so. Texts recovered from her mobile phone suggested Kerrie anticipated being around the following day, and we have no reason to believe she had any intention of taking her own life.”
Recording a verdict of accidental death, coroner Alison Much ruled the cause of death aspiration of gastric content, caused by the toxic combination of quetiapine and alcohol. She told told Kerrie’s family: “It is clear to me that Kerrie had been through some very difficult times. I believe she had been struggling to sleep the night prior to her death, and had taken her tablets over and above the prescribed dose.
“In her case, I do not believe Kerrie intended to take her own life. I am very, very sorry for your loss. It must have been so hard for you when things finally seemed to be looking up. I truly hope you get to plant the tree in memory of Kye – I am sure Kerrie would have been very pleased with that.”
Morton persuaded his son to take the morphine tablet as he did not want to go to the chemist as it was raining. Then teenager was found dead on the sofa the next morning.
In a Facebook confession two months later, Morton admitted: ‘I gave him a tablet by mistake that was too strong for him, it’s my fault – I have to try and live with it for the rest of my life but it was an accident.’
Despite the tragedy he was still allowed a say in Kye’s funeral, carried his coffin at the funeral where the lad was cremated in a Manchester City shirt and with his favourite cuddly toy cat alongside him.