Three gen­er­a­tions killed by heart con­di­tion within weeks – now their rel­a­tives un­dergo ur­gent checks

The Chronicle - - Front Page - By SO­PHIE DOUGHTY Crime Re­porter so­[email protected]­me­ @So­phie_Doughty

DUR­ING the dark­est of days af­ter her son’s sud­den death, Ash­ley Tom­lin’s fam­ily feared she would not be able to carry on.

But trag­i­cally the griev­ing mum had just started to look to the fu­ture once again in the days be­fore her own life was cru­elly taken by the same con­di­tion that killed her boy, it is be­lieved.

Foot­ball-mad Jak died in hos­pi­tal on Novem­ber 6, just hours af­ter com­plain­ing of chest pains. Medics told his dev­as­tated fam­ily the 10-year-old had suf­fered a rup­tured heart artery.

Jak’s death came less than 22 hours af­ter his great-grand­fa­ther James Tom­lin passed away.

And dur­ing the early hours of Mon­day morn­ing his mum Ash­ley also lost her life. She is be­lieved to have suc­cumbed to the same deadly con­di­tion as her son.

The 32-year-old’s dad has told how he feared his daugh­ter would never get over the loss of her beloved lit­tle boy.

But trag­i­cally Keith Tom­lin be­lieves Ash­ley had started to turn a cor­ner in the days be­fore she died.

The 59-year-old said: “I was so wor­ried that she wouldn’t be able to han­dle it. But she was start­ing to come to terms with it. We were mak­ing plans to go on a fam­ily hol­i­day, and she was talk­ing about Christ­mas.

“There were dif­fer­ent things that made me think she had turned a cor­ner. Ob­vi­ously when you lose a child, as I’m find­ing out now, it’s the worst thing that can hap­pen to you. She was just a wreck. But in the last five or six days I saw a change in her. She was so pos­i­tive.”

And pay­ing trib­ute to Ash­ley, Keith said: “She was a fan­tas­tic daugh­ter. Fun­nily enough her heart was her strong­est point, she was just so full of love. She was a fan­tas­tic mother. The re­la­tion­ship she had with Jak was like a mother and son but they were also best friends.”

Jak, from South Shields, un­der­went surgery when he was just three months old af­ter be­ing di­ag­nosed with a hole in his heart, and con­tin­ued to have check­ups at New­cas­tle’s Free­man Hos­pi­tal un­til he turned five.

As soon as he was able to walk the young­ster would al­ways be found with a foot­ball at his feet, and his pas­sion for the game was in­spired by his hero Alan Shearer.

Known as ‘cap­tain’ among his team-mates, Jak played as a goal­keeper for the school team and was a reg­u­lar at South Shields’ weekly train­ing ses­sions.

The avid Mariners fan was a sea­son-ticket holder who went down to Wembley with great-grandad James for the club’s fa­mous FA Vase suc­cess in May.

Jak was laid to rest at Har­ton Ceme­tery fol­low­ing an emo­tional funeral service at the home of South Shields

Ob­vi­ously when you lose a child, as I’m find­ing out now, it’s the worst thing that can hap­pen to you Keith Tom­lin

FC, Mariners Park. Ash­ley had been stay­ing at her mum Jill’s home on the night she died.

Jill, 59, called for an am­bu­lance af­ter find­ing her daugh­ter had col­lapsed in the bath­room. But noth­ing could be done to save Ash­ley’s life, and she died at the home.

“They were watch­ing I’m a Celebrity. She said she was go­ing to go to bed. She went to the toi­let, and Jill heard some­thing and when she looked in she was hav­ing some sort of seizure,” Keith ex­plained. “The paramedics did ev­ery­thing they could.”

Elec­tri­cal en­gi­neer, Keith, was work­ing away in Baku, Azer­bai­jan when the tragedy hap­pened and got the first flight home.

A post mortem ex­am­i­na­tion proved in­con­clu­sive and the cor­ner has or­dered fur­ther tests.

But Keith said it is be­lieved Ash­ley suf­fered the same heart con­di­tion as Jak, and the rest of the fam­ily will now un­dergo tests to see whether it could be hered­i­tary.

“It’s the same thing as what’s hap­pened to Jak,” he ex­plained. “The main artery has rup­tured. The coroner has said it is like a bro­ken heart. She has been dev­as­tated since Jak died.”

“I’m not sure if it’s hered­i­tary or not. The coroner’s of­fice has said to us to go to the doc­tors. I’m go­ing to go to­mor­row.”

As Keith plans his daugh­ter’s funeral he says he can now ap­pre­ci­ate a frac­tion of the pain she suf­fered in the last weeks of her life.

“I think a mother goes through

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