Inquest hears sister of Hannah Witheridge died while pregnant

laura daniels

Laura Daniels, sister of Hannah Witheridge, who died on September 16. - Credit: Archant

An inquest has heard how the sister of murdered Hannah Witheridge died while she was pregnant after years of complications with surgery.

Laura Daniels, 30, died at Southampton General Hospital on September 16, 2019.

At the time her family shared their 'indescribable pain' at the loss of their daughter.

Hannah Witheridge, 23, Laura's younger sister from Hemsby, was found dead on a beach in Thailand on September 15, 2014.

laura daniels

Laura Daniels (centre), with Simon Bailey, left, and PC David Reed (right) who received the Hannah Witheridge Special Recognition Award in 2016 PIC: Mark Amies - Credit: Archant

An inquest in Portsmouth heard that Mrs Daniels had surgery in 2011 for the rare condition trigeminal neuralgia, which causes facial pain.

Robert MacFarlane, consultant neurosurgeon at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, said the operation involved making an opening in her skull to access the nerve. 

He said Mrs Daniels had a “variety of problems” afterwards, including spinal fluid leaking through the wound, and she required multiple operations.

Rosamund Rhodes-Kemp, area coroner for Hampshire, Portsmouth and Southampton, summarising Mr McFarlane’s evidence, said: “Laura had a relatively rare condition, particularly for someone of her age, for which the options are medication, which some people don’t get on with, or surgery.

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“The surgery was effective but she did experience complications.”

Mr McFarlane said Mrs Daniels had been “concerned about the potential side-effects (of medication) were she to start a family in the future”.

She started treatment at Southampton General Hospital from 2015, having her first admission while she was a student locally.

Aabir Chakraborty, consultant neurosurgeon at the hospital, said she was treated for hydrocephalus – a build-up of fluid in the brain.

He said: “It just felt so unfair that she kept on having these troubles.”

Asked by the coroner if he was shocked by Mrs Daniels’s sudden death, he said: “I will be honest, I was quite devastated. It was awful.”

Hannah Witheridge was murdered on the Thai island of Koh Tao.

Hannah Witheridge was murdered on the Thai island of Koh Tao. - Credit: PA

He said Mrs Daniels was pregnant at the time.

He said he did not know what caused her death and, addressing Mrs Daniels’s family, added: “I just want to say sorry.”

The coroner told him: “I don’t think you could have done any more than you did.”

A post-mortem examination recorded Mrs Daniels’s cause of death as unascertained.

Mrs Witheridge wept at one point in the hearing and said: “You lose one daughter, you don’t expect to lose another.”

Mrs Rhodes-Kemp adjourned the inquest until August 11 to hear written evidence and to reach a conclusion.

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