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How to Kill a Mother

June 1, 2011 permalink

British mother Annabelle Lee Morris lost her son to adoption. She hanged herself.



Annabelle Lee Morris
Annabelle Lee Morris with her son, whose face has been blurred to protect his identity

Annabelle Lee Morris, 19, found dead 9 days after baby is adopted

TRIBUTES have been paid to a tragic teenage mum whose body was discovered days after she found out her baby son had been adopted.

Annabelle Lee Morris, 19, of Maple Avenue, Bishopthorpe, was distressed that her baby had been taken into care and then put up for adoption because she was struggling to look after him herself.

York Coroner’s Court heard that her father, Thomas James Morris, found her hanged in her bedroom on March 18 last year – nine days after she had found out that her son had new adoptive parents.

Speaking after the inquest, Annabelle’s 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.

“We said from day one that she did not mean (to commit suicide). It was a cry for help.”

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.

“From start to finish, social services acted straight away and their instinct was to protect Annabelle and her son. They went above and beyond with Annabelle.”

The inquest heard Annabelle’s son was taken into foster care when he was less than a year old due to her difficulties in coping with and looking after her baby.

She 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.

Annabelle saw her son, then 15 months old, for a final time in January 2010. Although it was arranged for Annabelle, a former Joseph Rowntree School pupil, to meet mental health workers in 2009, she did not attend an appointment.

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 – about two months before her death, 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 happened was an impulsive act, it could be described as a cry for help.”

Source: York Press

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling -my darling -my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea -
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

— Edgar Allan Poe