Mother arrested as 'yuppie-flu' daughter is found dead after 16 years in bed
A mother who nursed her daughter for 17 years with the disease ME has been arrested on suspicion of her murder following what is believed to have been a 'mercy killing'.
Police sources revealed that Lynn Gilderdale, 31, died from a massive overdose of morphine after attempting suicide with the same drug at least twice during her battle with the debilitating condition.
Detectives arrested her mother Kay, 54, over suspicions that she helped administer the fatal dose after watching her daughter suffer since she was 14.
Bedridden: Victim Lynn Gilderdale, 31, had been confined to her home for 16 years
Mrs Gilderdale, a trained nurse, was the full-time
carer for her frail daughter, who had been bedridden for
more than 16 years and was taking a cocktail of drugs
for her condition.
Police were called to their bungalow in Stonegate, near Heathfield, East Sussex, on Thursday after the alarm was raised by Lynn's father, Mrs Gilderdale's ex-husband Richard, a former police sergeant.
Mrs Gilderdale was arrested on suspicion of murder, interviewed and released on police bail on Friday. The suspected 'mercy killing' will reignite the right-to-die debate over assisted suicide.
Kay Gilderdale returning home following her arrest for the suspected murder of her daughter Lynette
Yesterday she and her ex-husband released a statement on behalf of their family.
Pointedly referring to Mrs Gilderdale's 'total dedication' to her daughter, they 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.'
They said Lynn had been active and healthy until she was 14. She had a tuberculosis immunisation in November 1991 and immediately felt unwell.
She was diagnosed with ME in May 1992 and was left bedridden by her severe condition. She had been unable to speak since August that year.
Her family said: '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 praise and admire Lynn for her courage, which she showed to the end.
'She was a much-loved daughter, sister and granddaughter who despite her illness always gave love and support to others.
'Lynn's family say her death will leave a massive void in their lives - and the love she gave so unreservedly, will be missed every minute of the day.' Police were called to the £400,000 bungalow at 8.30am on Thursday. Mrs Gilderdale was arrested just after 10am.
A post-mortem examination has been carried out but police refused to reveal the cause of death pending further toxicology tests.
A police officer outside the home of Kay Gilderdale after her arrest
Chief Inspector Heather Keating said: 'This is a very tragic incident. We are not looking for anyone else in connection with it.'
A Sussex police spokesman said Mr Gilderdale, who still works for the force in a civilian role, was not suspected of any involvement in his daughter's death.
He split from his wife in 2002. The couple, who also have a son, Steven, said their divorce had not been caused by their daughter's illness.
Mr Gilderdale still lives nearby and is said to have visited his daughter daily and to have helped with her day-to-day care.
He was with his Irish-born ex-wife at the family home yesterday, where she was being comforted by her sister.
Mrs Gilderdale has been a prominent campaigner over the illness which struck down her daughter.
The family statement added: '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.'
Afflicted: Lynn in bed with her pet hamster Polo at the age of 25