Grandparents tell of haunting last words to granddaughter, 19, before losing her and their daughter within days

A COUPLE have revealed their haunting final words to their granddaughter found hanged just 19 days before her mum also died in a double tragedy.

Rhianne Halton, 19, took her own life days after giving birth to a baby boy.


Tragically, her mum Jeanette Whittle, 44, suffered a fatal overdose just 19 days later as her grief spiralled.

The heartbreaking details of the double tragedy in May last year were revealed at an inquest this week.

Rhianne's devoted grandparents and Jeanette's mum and dad have now spoken of their torment at losing the pair so close together – and their heartbreaking final conversation.

Barbara Whittle, 68, from Newton Abbot, Devon, told The Sun Online: "The last year has been horrible. We’ve lost a daughter and a granddaughter, and within such a short space of time.

“It seems like a terrible waste of life but I hope there is somewhere happy now where Jeanette doesn’t have to face the hell of addiction every day and Rhianne is at peace."


Barbara and husband Graham, 72, raised Rhianne as her mum was gripped by drug use.

The couple, who used to run a post office and general store in Newton Abbot, said the teen "always seemed very happy".

On May 10, she was due to visit her beloved grandparents for Sunday lunch with her two children and Jeanette.

But as Graham clambered into the car to pick the family up, he received a phonecall from Rhianne saying she wasn't coming as she had rowed with her boyfriend.

Recalling the devastating final conversation he shared with his granddaughter, Graham said: "Next  thing, about half an hour later, just as I was about to pick her up, I got a phone call to tell me Rhianne had killed herself at her home.

"What a waste of such a promising young life. She’d wanted to be a hairdresser and she was such a good mum to those children.

"When she told me about the row, I told her that the two of them needed to grow up a bit. They were the last words I got to say to her."

The inquest was told Rhianne was found hanged by her boyfriend around an hour-and-a-half after their row.


YOU’RE NOT ALONE

EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.

It doesn't discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.

It's the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.

And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.

Yet it's rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.

That is why The Sun launched the You're Not Alone campaign.

The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.

Let's all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You're Not Alone.

If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:

  • CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
  • Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
  • Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
  • Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
  • Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123

In the days that followed, Jeanette struggled with the grief of losing her daughter so suddenly.

She had been addicted to drugs for 25 years but had always "been a good mum" to Rhianne.

Just 19 days after the teen was found dead, Jeanette was discovered on her a bed at her home in Kingskerswell.


The inquest was told her cause of death was given as mixed drug toxicity.

Sobbing Barbara said: "My poor Jeanette was absolutely distraught.

"She was heartbroken. Not just for the loss of her daughter, but the way she had lost her."

Rhianne and Jeanette were both laid to rest in a double funeral with their ashes interred side-by-side in the cemetery at St Luke’s Church in Newton Abbot.

The inquest yesterday heard how there had been no concerns for Rhianne's physical or mental health after she gave birth to her second son in March last year.

But her death was ruled as a suicide by coroner Stephen Covell.

Barbara said she had received counselling before but was a "lovely, happy person" who didn't suffer from mental health issues.

She believes the new mum was struggling with relationship problems when "things got on top of her".

The gran added: "I think the pandemic has also played its part in Rhianne’s death because I know she was finding it hard having no want to talk to while we were locked down last summer.

"Maybe if she’d had that, she’d still be here today.”

If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, please call the Samaritans for free on 116123.


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