A mother accidentally killed herself by sniffing lighter fluid while pregnant with her fourth child.
Kimberley Need, 35, was found dead at home in Oldham, Greater Manchester by her boyfriend.
She had text him saying ‘love you always my sexy man’ following a 16-week scan but her came back from work to find himself locked out. He discovered Miss Need after a locksmith gained access to the property.
Tests showed Miss Need had been sniffing butane gas from a can of lighter fuel. She used to sniff the gas to get ‘a high’ from it when she was about 12, an inquest into her death heard.
The former care worker developed post-natal depression after the birth of her first three children by her former partner in 2001 and 2011.
She had bursts of ‘volatile’ behaviour and threatened to self-harm, but although she tried to take her own life with an overdose of tablets in 2016, she sought help.
Miss Need fell pregnant again earlier this year and was said to be happy and was due to attend an ante natal clinic appointment when tragedy struck on May 23.
Boyfriend Ben Banham told the Heywood hearing: ‘We got on well straight away as she was a lot of fun – she was fun and protective and was a hard worker. Her main concern was the children they came first and I knew that and I had no problems with that.
‘She was depressed after her last relationship but she was not depressed at the time of her death and she was in a good place that day.
‘I went to work and kissed her goodbye and told her I loved her. I was on the phone to her during my breaks and the general conversation was fine. I rang at 5pm and she had just taken the dog for a walk. She was fine and laughing. She texted me at 5:30 saying “love you always my sexy man”. I just thought everything was going well.
‘I left work at 7pm but a mate rang me and said she was answering the phone. I got home. It was quite light outside but I couldn’t see her. The dog was fine and not barking. I was ringing her mobile phone on the landline and I waited outside for about an hour.
‘Sometimes she would lock the door and fall asleep when I would work late. I spoke to an ambulance service and said I’m probably wasting your time but I can’t get into my flat. The locksmith came and took the lock out and I went in first. The TV was on and then it was off. I still think now was she still alive when I got there.
‘I went in the bedroom and I went in the front room and she was there on the couch. I did CPR until the ambulance arrived but she was gone.
‘I didn’t know what had gone on that day but with sending me that text message something wasn’t right. It just doesn’t make sense. She hadn’t sniffed anything before.’
Miss Need’s mother Christine said: ‘Kim never hurt herself deliberately or self harmed. When she was upset she would ring her sister. I am really shocked about what happened I saw her the day she died. She seemed happy. She was waiting at the bus station to meet me for a coffee.
‘My niece was with me and she spoke to her and was very happy.
‘She got some chocolate from the shop and had a joke with the shopkeeper. She ran for the bus and waved to me. She phoned me later to apologise to me for rushing away.
‘She was due for an antenatal clinic appointment on the Friday. I didn’t think she intended to take her own life.’
The hearing was told no suicide note was found and police fond there were no suspicious circumstances. A pathologist recorded the cause of death as ‘sudden death syndrome’ from sniffing butane and propane gas.
Toxicologist Julie Evans said: ‘The gas causes the heart not to beat properly and can cause a risk of a seizure. People do it as it can be for euphoric effect.’
Recording a verdict of misadventure coroner Lisa Hashmi said: ‘She comes across as very impulsive and a little volatile. She struggled after the birth of her children but she also realised she needed help.
‘I have to say I do not think there is enough evidence to say it is a conclusion of suicide. Her sister described how she had experience in using lighter fluid to get high in the past.’