Mother-Of-Five Catherine Furey Dies After Attempted Vinegar Abortion

PA/The Huffington Post UK  |  Posted: Updated: 22/05/2012 17:27

A pregnant mother of five died after drinking vinegar during a botched home abortion.

Catherine Furey, 38, from Salford, Greater Manchester, suffered a fatal reaction to the industrial-strength liquid. She was rushed to hospital but later died.

Police arrested her sister-in-law and best friend Dawn Chadwick who handed her the vinegar bottle. The MEN reports Mrs Furey's husband is still too upset to talk about the incident. Mrs Chadwick was also later charged with manslaughter for allegedly helping Mrs Furey abort the baby.

But the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) offered no evidence when the case went before Manchester Crown Court and a not guilty verdict was recorded against the defendant.

At the court hearing on May 14, the trial judge, His Honour Justice Henriques, endorsed the CPS decision to offer no evidence.

Mrs Furey's family have said they do not blame Mrs Chadwick, a mother-of-four with learning difficulties, for the death on December 1, 2010.

Mrs Chadwick reportedly took the bottle of vinegar - similar to the type often used in chip shops - out of a cupboard and passed it to Mrs Furey, who is thought to have researched using vinegar for an abortion on the internet.

Mrs Chadwick, from Monsall, Manchester, was arrested in July 2011 and charged with unlawfully supplying a poisonous or noxious substance with the intent to cause the miscarriage of a woman.

In January prosecutors raised the charge to manslaughter, but after a CPS review it was decided Mrs Chadwick should not face court action.

Kevin Rogers, branch crown prosecutor for the CPS, said: "This was a tragic case, the consequences of which sadly led to the death of Catherine Furey.

"A senior crown prosecutor considered all of the available evidence at the time in accordance with the code for crown prosecutors. The key and significant evidence was alleged admissions made by Dawn Chadwick to the police during her interview.

"A decision was made to charge Dawn Chadwick with manslaughter; this was the correct decision at that time.

"All cases are subject to continuous review resulting in both the defence and prosecution commissioning and receiving reports from expert witnesses in February/March 2012.

"The prosecution instructed Professor Jane Ireland, a leading forensic psychologist and chair of the experts advisory group of the British Psychological Society.

"Following consideration of both reports, the prosecution concluded that the alleged admissions made in interview would not be admissible in criminal proceedings.

"The law in that regard is clear and against us proceeding on the basis of the interview alone, leading us to the conclusion that there is no longer a realistic prospect of conviction.

"The family of the deceased have been made aware of the decision and have expressed understanding of the position."

Solicitor Alex Preston, speaking on behalf of Dawn Chadwick's family, said: "Catherine died in tragic circumstances.

"From the outset, her family made it abundantly clear to both the police and the CPS that they did not blame Dawn for Catherine's death.

"Indeed, Catherine's sister described her prosecution as a 'second tragedy'.

"Dawn was devastated by her friend's death. Dawn has significant learning difficulties and should never have been charged with the initial charge of supplying a noxious substance to cause an abortion.

"Despite this, the CPS actually elevated the charge she faced several months later to manslaughter and it is not until now - a full 18 months after Catherine's death - that her name has been cleared.

"Dawn is extremely relieved that her ordeal is finally over. She and the rest of the family would now like to be left alone to grieve."

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