Baby boy dies from dehydration after recovering addict mother dies from overdose on Christmas Eve

·Freelance Writer
·3-min read
Natalie Kane and her one-year-old son Harry Kane were both found dead in their flat five days after not arriving at a friend's house on Christmas Day. (Reach)
Natalie Kane and her one-year-old son Harry Kane were both found dead in their flat five days after not arriving at a friend's house on Christmas Day. (Reach)

A one-year-old baby died from dehydration after effectively being left alone when his mother died as a result of substance abuse, a coroner has concluded.

In a scene which left paramedics "visibly upset", Harry Kane and his mother, Natalie Kane, were found dead in Whitehaven, Cumbria, several days after their deaths in December last year.

They had been due to arrived at a friend's house on Christmas Day but concerns were raised several days after they failed to turn up.

Ms Kane, 27, was described as "loving and caring" by friends and family. She was recovering after previously suffering with addiction and had no drugs other than her prescribed methadone in her urine when it was checked one week before her death.

However, on the evening of Christmas Eve, she seemingly relapsed and inhaled lighter fluid and suffered catastrophic effects.

An inquest heard Ms Kane, who previously served as an HGV driver in the army, had been discharged due to issues with alcohol.

She suffered with depression throughout much of her life and was receiving support from services including Recovery Steps Cumbria and Women Out West after suffering from drug addiction and domestic abuse.

Harry Kane is believed to have died from dehydration. (Reach)
Harry Kane is believed to have died from dehydration. (Reach)

One friend noted that she was keen to avoid her ex-partner and Harry's father, Nathan Ryan, to avoid repeats of negative behaviours.

All those who knew her and gave evidence to the inquest spoke of her as a loving and devoted mother whose life revolved around her son.

She was not thought to have taken drugs after Harry's birth but on Christmas Day, she had planned to visit another friend, Stacey Hackett, with Harry but stopped responding to messages the previous evening.

Ms Hackett was not concerned when the pair did not show up as this was not considered to be unusual and she believed they had instead gone to spend the day with their family.

But on 30 December, concern was raised over the fact Natalie had not picked up a prescription or been in contact with any of the services she had been working with and police were contacted.

Ms Kane was found lying in the living room of her home next to unopened Christmas presents.

Friends and family said Natalie Kane was a loving and devoted mother whose life revolved around her son Harry. (Reach)
Friends and family said Natalie Kane was a loving and devoted mother whose life revolved around her son Harry. (Reach)

A paramedic noticed the presence of a substance in her nose and bottles of lighter fluid, consistent with substance misuse.

Harry, who was found in the bathroom, is thought to have survived for two to three days after his mum's death before succumbing to the effects of dehydration.

In a statement summarised by the coroner's assistant Margaret Taylor, brother Scott said: "She was one of the best mams I've ever seen. She was so loving, thoughtful and caring.

“The last year of her life was revolved around Harry.”

Concluding the inquest, the coroner said: "What we will never know is why Natalie used that butane. She'd done so well, she'd changed her life around, she clearly wasn't abusing heroin which had been her drug of choice.”

She said that Ms Kane died “after succumbing to the effect of voluntary inhalation of butane”, while Harry died “as a consequence of dehydration having been left alone following the death of his mother”.