A mother and son tragically died less than two months apart after they had made a suicide pact and researched medication online, an inquest was told.

Lynne Fisher, 58, from Whitehaven, died at West Cumberland Hospital on Christmas Day last year after taking an overdose of medication.

Her son, Karl Lewthwaite, 32, was then found dead at his home in Whitehaven on February 14 and had also taken an overdose.

At a joint inquest held at Cockermouth Coroner’s Court on Tuesday, Coroner Dr Nicholas Shaw said it was a “tragic story of a mother and son”.

Ms Fisher’s family described her as “beautiful person inside and out” who had “good strength of character”.

The inquest heard that Ms Fisher had gone through a “messy divorce” from her ex-husband, William Kirkbride.

They married in 2006 and bought a house in Whitehaven town centre. She later discovered that her husband, who declared himself a “successful businessman”, was “basically penniless” and claiming benefits.

During the divorce proceedings, Kirkbride was “very unpleasant” and changed the locks on their house.

When the divorce was settled, Ms Fisher was awarded a house at Moresby but wanted to sell the marital home and get a flat in Whitehaven town centre.

Ms Fisher’s health later deteriorated and her family felt she was “let down by the system”.

She was “incarcerated” in a hospital bed in her living room, in a “totally unsuitable house” and was in intense pain, the inquest was told.

Her family said her quality of life was made worse by William Kirkbride and his refusal to sell the Whitehaven house or buy her out.

On December 22 last year, her carers called an ambulance after they found her with a reduced level of consciousness.

A statement from a paramedic who attended the scene said she had taken an overdose of medication. She was taken to West Cumberland Hospital.

Ms Fisher told a doctor in A&E that she couldn’t stand the constant pain and wanted to die. She passed away in hospital on Christmas Day.  

A statement from Ms Fisher’s GP said that she had been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. Her health deteriorated and she was then diagnosed with functional neurological disorder. 

She became wheelchair-bound in 2018 and was diagnosed with type two diabetes in 2019.  

Ms Fisher’s GP said she had voiced suicidal ideations in 2018 as her physical health deteriorated significantly and had indicated several times that her life was not worth living.

The inquest heard that Ms Fisher and her son had made a suicide pact and had researched medications online.

A toxicology report showed there were a large number of drugs in her system and most were not prescribed.

The cause of death was given as toxicity caused by a number of drugs. Obesity, liver cirrhosis, bronchopneumonia and functional neurological disorder were contributing factors to her death.

Coroner Dr Nicholas Shaw concluded that Ms Fisher died by suicide.

The inquest heard that Ms Fisher’s son, Karl Lewthwaite, was 17 when his mother married William Kirkbride.

After they split up, Kirkbride wanted him and Karl to have a relationship and get a flat together but “nothing ever happened”.

Mr Lewthwaite had tried to take his own life on several occasions, the inquest was told.

A statement read from his mum’s second cousin, Carol Blakeway, said “he didn’t want to die, he just wanted to be normal”.

He was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and borderline personality disorder at the age of 26.   

When he was unwell, he would Google his symptoms and buy medication from the dark web, the inquest heard.

Ms Blakeway said Karl and his mother were “very close”. She said he talked about suicide daily and he just wanted to be with his mum.

A statement was read to the court from the police officer who attended Mr Lewthwaite’s home at Windmill Brow on February 14.

The mother of Mr Lewthwaite’s flatmate had phoned the police after a note was found on his door saying not to enter because he had taken his own life.

Mr Lewthwaite was found deceased on his bed by police.

A statement from Mr Lewthwaite’s ex-partner, Richard Fielder, said Mr Lewthwaite had always had issues with mental health.

He said Mr Lewthwaite had made several attempts to end his life and the last time was at Christmas when he took an overdose.

Mr Fielder said he and Mr Lewthwaite were “like brothers” and he had seen him the night before he died. He said he would never have expected Mr Lewthwaite to take his own life.

A psychiatric report read out to the inquest said Mr Lewthwaite had a long history of being involved with mental health services and was first referred at the age of seven.

He had previously been admitted to the Dover Unit in Barrow following an overdose to end his life.

Mr Lewthwaite last had contact with the mental health team in September 2021.

A toxicology report revealed there were a number of drugs in Mr Lewthwaite’s system and some had not been prescribed.

The cause of death was given as the toxic effects of two drugs.

Dr Shaw concluded that Mr Lewthwaite died by suicide.

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