Boy 1, died of dehydration trapped at home alone at Christmas after mum’s death from drinking lighter fluid

The assistant coroner said the deaths of Natalie Kane and her son Harry were a “tragedy of unimaginable proportions”.

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A one-year-old baby died from dehydration when he was trapped at home at Christmas after his mother’s death from drinking lighter fluid, an inquest has heard.

Natalie Kane, 27, and her 14-month-old son Harry were found dead at their home on 30 December 2021.

An inquest has revealed that mum Natalie died as a result of substance abuse, and little Harry eventually succumbed to dehydration while waiting for help to arrive.

Assistant coroner Margaret Taylor told the court their deaths were “incredibly distressing” and was a “tragedy of unimaginable proportions”, the BBC reported.

The inquest heard that Natalie had struggled with drug addiction and depression after leaving the army.

However friends and family said her life turned around after Harry was born in 2020.

A statement from her brother, read out at the inquest, said: ““She suddenly grew up. She was so loving, caring and thoughtful.”

Natalie Kane and her son Harry. Credit: Family handoutNatalie Kane and her son Harry. Credit: Family handout
Natalie Kane and her son Harry. Credit: Family handout

Friend Ashton Graham explained Natalie’s life “revolved” around little Harry.

The Sun reported that she would take him to the park every day and had no childcare as she wanted to be with him as often as possible.

A few days before she died, she had tested negative at rehab for all substances, other than the methadone she had been prescribed.

However, it is thought around Christmas Eve she consumed some butane and propane lighter fluid, which led to her death.

Natalie had been due to meet her friend Stacey Hackett on Christmas Day, but the inquest heard she was not concerned when she didn’t show up, thinking she must have been with relatives or spending time with Harry.

Support group manager Rebecca Todd contacted police on 30 December when Natalie did not collect her methadone prescription, which was “out of character”, according to the BBC.

Natalie Kane with little Harry. Credit: GoFundMeNatalie Kane with little Harry. Credit: GoFundMe
Natalie Kane with little Harry. Credit: GoFundMe

When police broke down the door of Natalie’s flat in Whitehaven, Cumbria, they found her near the Christmas tree, next to unopened presents.

Several empty butane lighter fluid canisters were found next to the mum-of-one, along with two beer cans and empty methadone medication packets, the inquest heard.

Little Harry was found in the bathroom, with a bath tap running.

A pathologist told Cumbria coroner’s court that Natalie had died due to butane and propane inhalation and Harry died “probably over a number of days”.

Ms Taylor said the purchase of lighter fluid “set in motion unimaginably tragic events” and concluded the pair had died between 24 and 30 December.

A GoFundMe set up by friends Ashton Graham and Stacey Hackett raised almost £9,000 for Harry and Natalie’s funerals.

It also fundraised for the Women Out West charity, which “helped Natalie out so much”.

After the fundraiser, brother Shane said: “I would just like to say a massive thanks to all who has supported and a donated.

“It’s overwhelming what we have received and me, family and friends appreciate it.”

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