23/05/2012 08:05 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Mum-Of-Five Dies Drinking Vinegar In Botched DIY Attempt To Abort Her Baby

Mum-of-five dies drinking vinegar in botched DIY attempt to abort her baby

Women with unwanted pregnancies have been warned about 'internet myths' after a a mum died from a DIY abortion.

Mum-of-five Catherine Furey attempted a home termination after becoming pregnant with an unwanted baby.

In desperation, she went online and found a site which said drinking strong vinegar would bring on a miscarriage.

Her sister-in-law Dawn Chadwick, who has severe learning difficulties, gave Catherine, 38, some industrial-strength vinegar.

But, tragically, she suffered a fatal reaction to the high acid content.

Her devastated husband Craig, 39, said he did not know that she was pregnant with their sixth child. And he had no idea why she chose not to confide in her doctor.

The heartbreaking story was revealed after sister-in-law Dawn was cleared of blame, having been arrested for handing her the concentrated vinegar. It is believed she had taken it from a kitchen cupboard, then given it to Catherine, who then went to another room and drank it.

Abortion experts are now warning of 'internet myths' about terminations but Craig stressed: "I don't blame Dawn. It wasn't her fault."

He said Catherine had been 'in pieces' because her dad had just died.

"We're all distraught," he told the Manchester Evening News. "We have five kids and she had brothers and sisters as well. We all miss her so much."

Catherine, from Salford, Greater Manchester, died after being rushed to hospital in December 2010.

Dawn was arrested seven months later and charged with unlawfully supplying a poisonous or noxious substance with intent to cause the miscarriage.

In January, prosecutors raised the charge to manslaughter. But after reviewing the file, the Crown Prosecution Service has dropped the case.

Women wanting information on abortions have been urged to speak to a doctor or clinic.

Family Planning Association director of information services, Natika H Halil, said: "We know there are many myths and misinformation about abortion on the internet.


It's so important to use trusted sources to gain accurate information on how to access abortion services.


Health experts said vinegar was only lethal in high concentrations.

The Food Standards Agency said: "Drinking vinegar, even in large quantities, is unlikely to have an effect as vinegar is a dilute solution, usually 5% acetic acid.

"However, when acetic acid is ingested in high concentrations it can be harmful as it is corrosive. We are aware of previous fatalities."

What a tragic event.