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Category Archives: Salford
Coroner warns against internet myths after Catherine Furey dies in apparent misguided attempt to induce abortion
A coroner has warned people to beware of internet myths after a woman accidentally killed herself when she drank vinegar to abort her pregnancy.
Catherine Furey, 38, is believed to have read that drinking vinegar would terminate her pregnancy. She collapsed after drinking a mug of industrial vinegar.
The death of the mother of five from Higher Broughton in Salford was wholly avoidable, according to Nigel Meadows, the coroner. In a narrative verdict at Manchester coroner’s court, he said Furey’s attempt to induce an abortion was misguided and warned anyone tempted to follow internet myths not to do so.
Dawn Chadwick, the partner of Furey’s brother, was originally charged with manslaughter for supplying her with the vinegar but the Crown Prosecution Service dropped the charge. It is thought Chadwick took the bottle of vinegar out of a cupboard and passed it to Furey, who then took it into another room and drank it. She died in North Manchester general hospital on 1 December 2010.
Chadwick was arrested seven months later and charged with unlawfully supplying a poisonous or noxious substance with the intent to cause the miscarriage of a woman. In January 2012, prosecutors raised the charge to manslaughter.
But the CPS dropped the case after psychologists said Chadwick had undiagnosed learning difficulties which made her police interview inadmissable as evidence.
The inquest heard how Furey went to her GP to arrange an abortion, but on finding the surgery closed decided to drink the vinegar.
Chadwick gave a confusing account to police about whether it was she or Furey who had found the vinegar bottle and poured the drink, according to Det Con Matthew Bolger.
He said he had not realised that Chadwick had learning difficulties. “Had I known, we would have arranged for a solicitor or appropriate adult to be present during the interview.”
The coroner criticised the decision of the CPS to prosecute her for manslaughter, saying it was clearly Furey’s decision to take the drink.
He said: “Even if she had poured the drink, it is hard to see how a case could be made. All Mrs Furey had to do was to go to her GP. Trying to do this on the hoof with incorrect information was fraught with difficulty.”
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