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