Kay Gilderdale trial: third day

From the Brighton Evening Argus, 20 January 2010

Internet searches on how to commit suicide were made on the computer of a mother accused of trying to murder her seriously-ill daughter, a court heard today.

In the hours leading up to 31-year-old Lynn Gilderdale’s death, her mother, Bridget Kathleen Gilderdale, trawled websites searching for methods on how to overdose on pills, jurors heard.

Some of the search terms also related to morphine overdoses, Lewes Crown Court was told.

The searches are alleged to have been made by Gilderdale, known as Kay, over the course of what the prosecution have described as “30 fateful hours” leading up to Miss Gilderdale’s death following her 17-year battle with the chronic-fatigue illness ME.

It is claimed that Gilderdale, 55, passed two syringes filled with large doses of morphine to her desperately ill daughter who administered the medicine herself in a suicide bid at the family home in Stonegate, near Heathfield, East Sussex.

When it emerged that the dosage had not achieved Miss Gilderdale’s suicidal aim, her mother is said to have searched the house for tablets which she crushed with a pestle and mortar and administered via a nasogastric tube.

In the hours that followed, Gilderdale, described by prosecutors as “devoted” to her sick daughter, gave her three syringes of air through an intravenous catheter with the intention of causing air embolisms.

Miss Gilderdale, who was left paralysed and needing round-the-clock care, was pronounced dead at the family home at 7.10am on December 4, 2008.

Today the jury of six men and six women were read a list of search phrases, websites and forums accessed on Gilderdale’s computer in the hours before her daughter’s death.

One of the items accessed related to a news item about voluntary euthanasia campaigner Dr Philip Nitschke, dubbed “Dr Death”, and “suicide workshops” he was holding in the UK.

One of the final searches was for an assisted suicide organisation, before Miss Gilderdale was pronounced dead.

Gilderdale denies attempted murder but admits aiding and abetting suicide between December 2 and December 5, 2008.