Double tragedy as mum, 44, and daughter, 19, found dead days apart just weeks after teen had given birth

A MUM and daughter were found dead just days apart after the 19-year-old had given birth, an inquest heard.

Heartfelt tributes have poured in for Rhianne Halton, 19, and her mum Jeanette Whittle, 44, who both tragically died in May 2020.

Rhianne had given birth to her second child just six weeks before she tragically ended her life – and her grieving mum suffered a fatal overdose 19 days later.

A double funeral was later held for Rhianne and Jeanette.

An inquest held in Plymouth on Tuesday heard Rhianne had a long history of mental health problems due to a "difficult childhood" which saw raised by her devoted grandparents.

She also had a "difficult" relationship with her partner, who was the father of her three-year-old son and the new baby boy, who was born during the Covid lockdown.

The hearing was told Rhianne and her partner had split for nine months, during which time she had started a new relationship.

But the inquest heard after getting back together the couple rowed frequently, including about Rhianne getting in contact with her ex on social media.

The 19-year-old was found hanged by her boyfriend when he returned home an hour-and-a-half after an argument on May 10, the court heard.


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,, 0800 585 858
  • Heads Together,
  • Mind,, 0300 123 3393
  • Papyrus,, 0800 068 41 41
  • Samaritans,, 116 123

A Torbay maternity services investigation said there had been no concerns for Rhianne's physical or mental health after she gave birth to her second son in March last year – despite face to face contact being restricted by Covid.

The coroner Mr Covell recorded a verdict of suicide.

Barbara and Graham Whittle – Jeanette’s parents and Rhianne’s grandparents – endured the heartbreak of sitting through separate inquests into their deaths yesterday.

Paying tribute to Rhianne afterwards, Barbara said: “She was lovely and loved to have a laugh, but sadly she did suffer from mental health issues which started when she was at school. Although she had a few problems she was always happy.

“Her death was a complete shock. I knew she had post-natal depression but she wouldn’t let me take her to the doctors because she was worried her children would be taken away from her.”

Paying tribute to Jeanette, she said: “She was a wonderful daughter, even when she was into drugs. She got in with a bad crowd and had tried to come off the drugs but couldn’t in the end.

“She did have some lovely friends and she really did love Rhianne, but she just couldn’t look after her.

“After Rhianne’s death she was devastated. She had been trying to get off the drugs again, and wanted to for her grandchildren.

“Both she and Rhianne would come here every Sunday for lunch before lockdown. They both adored the boys.

“I really don’t know if Jeanette's overdose was intentional or not. I like to think it might have been an accident.

“Their deaths so close to each other has been very, very upsetting. Every day that sadness is there.”

The 44-year-old was found by a friend passed away on her bed at her home in Kingskerswell on May 29.

Recalling how Jeanette had been following Rhianne’s death, Graham said: “I think she probably resorted to drugs as it was the only way she knew how to cope.”

“I did not think she would take own life. I thought she would want to stay alive for her grandchildren so we have been left shocked and devastated by her death.”

A post mortem examination confirmed the cause of her death was mixed drug toxicity.

Recording a conclusion of drug related death, assistant coroner Mr Covell said: “She probably knew it was quite a significant quantity of drugs.

"She may have wanted to blot out the memory and stress of her daughter’s suicide, and the events on May 20 seemed to be a rehearsal for that.

“To go as far as saying intended to take her life, I am not persuaded by that.”

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