Teenage mother found hanged days after discovering her baby had been adopted
A tragic teenage mother’s body was found hanged days after she discovered her baby had been adopted by another family.
Annabelle Lee Morris, 19, could not cope with her son being taken into care and then put up for adoption.
Her father, Thomas James Morris, found her in her bedroom on March 18 last year – nine days after she found out that her son had new adoptive parents, York Coroner’s Court was told.
The authorities had intervened as she was struggling to look after him herself.
Speaking after the inquest, her cousin, Lorna Dawber, said: ‘She adored her son and had she accepted the help when it was there her future would have been completely different. In time she would have got there.
‘That was the one thing in life that was hers, she absolutely worshipped him.’
She said Annabelle would not have put her family through that deliberately.
‘She was a good soul and she had a good heart,’ she said.
The inquest heard that the child was taken into foster care when he was less than a year old.
Annabelle, from York, was still allowed to see him a few times a week, but when a psychologist raised further serious concerns, steps were taken to have the baby adopted.
Although it was arranged for Annabelle to meet mental health workers in 2009, she did not attend an appointment.
She saw her son, then 15 months old, for the final time in January 2010. At the time of her death she was on a doctor’s waiting list to see a counsellor.
Prior to the adoption, her social worker, John Corden, said Annabelle was ‘ambivalent’ about accepting the support offered to her as this would involve ‘putting boundaries around her lifestyle’.
But he said that he and other colleagues had been impressed by the ‘high quality of interaction’ between mother and child and that she had been ‘dignified and honest’ in her work with social services.
Mr Corden said ‘I had frequent discussions with Annabelle about the way the case was going. She never suggested to me that if adoption were the outcome she would harm herself.
‘Annabelle was blessed with a warm and benign personality. She could present herself as a well functioning and capable young lady.
‘In the fullness of time, that may have been a considerable asset to her.‘
Coroner Donald Coverdale recorded an open verdict and said the cause of her death was asphyxia due to hanging.
Noting that she had strong support from a loving family and from social services, he said: ‘Miss Morris was a 19-year-old with a number of problems relating back to childhood.
‘In recent times she had gone through the trauma of having her child adopted.
‘The final meeting with her child had been in January and that time must have been the most difficult of all.
‘It seems to me that she had time to reflect on the unhappy course of events culminating in the adoption. My best guess is that what has