Mum desperate to leave house where son died

Sandra Shipley with a photograph of her late son Tommy Shipley who commited suicide in her house.
Sandra Shipley with a photograph of her late son Tommy Shipley who commited suicide in her house.
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ON the fifth anniversary of her son’s death, grieving mum Sandra Shipley is desperate to leave the home where he died.

The 45-year-old has been battling grief since her husband David, 48, found their son Thomas hanging from bunk beds in the bedroom of their Arden Square home.

Too scared to sleep in the room where he died, Sandra and David claim they are now being prevented from making a fresh start through a wrangle with housing company Gentoo.

The Farringdon grandmother said: “I just want to move and put everything that has happened behind me.”

Sandra, who also has a 24-year-old son and a two-year-old grandson, said other bad memories haunt the house.

She had to be placed in an induced coma for 21 days after she suffered a cardiac arrest and was declared dead for 27 minutes.

Her family were told she could die at any time, but she recovered and surgeons at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital operated to fit a defibrillator to her heart. Sandra still has a leaky valve in her heart and could become ill at any time.

She said on the morning of her cardiac arrest in May, she got up at 7am to ensure daughter Nicole, 16, was getting ready for school.

Sandra said: “I got back into bed and my husband heard the noise and realised what was happening. He was trying to resuscitate me while the paramedics were on their way.

“I was dead for about 27 minutes, but they brought me back.

“My cardiac nurse says I need a flat or a bungalow because I shouldn’t be using the stairs.

“I am too frightened to sleep in the bedroom where I died and I can’t go into the bedroom where Thomas died, so I sleep on the settee.”

When Sandra and David approached Gentoo to move they were told before they could be put on the waiting list for a flat they had to pay almost £400 in arrears for a house in Aberdare Road, where they lived 23 years ago before moving to their current home.

She said: “We didn’t know anything about any arrears, it was a total shock. They didn’t have much documentation and one of the papers said the arrears had been written off.”

Ian Porter, managing director, Gentoo Sunderland said: “We are working closely with Mrs Shipley in regards to her housing needs.

“Options have been discussed and if Mrs Shipley decides not to move we will look at adapting her current home to meet her needs.

“If Mrs Shipley decides to move we will support her through this process. At present, we are awaiting a decision from the customer.”