Grieving mum suffers new heartache

A SOUTH Tyneside mum has suffered more family heartache as she waits for answers into her disabled son's death.

Darren O'Connor, 19, died after being taken into custody at South Shields police station in the early hours of July 7.

Mr O'Connor – who required a tracheotomy after being left partially paralysed by a road accident in 2007 – had been arrested by officers for a breach of bail.

He was later discovered with breathing difficulties and taken to hospital, where he died.

The matter is now being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, leaving his mother Michelle O'Connor still waiting for answers.

But after the loss of her eldest son, the 38-year-old has also had to cope with the devastating death of her gran Agnes Ramsay – who passed away aged 84 on August 24 – and the news that her mother, Kathleen O'Connor, is now seriously ill in hospital with lung problems.

Miss O'Connor, from East Avenue, Harton, South Shields, said: "I don't know where I am at the minute, it's been one thing after another.

"Darren's death has had such a knock-on effect to the rest of the family.

"My mam suffers from the lung condition COPD, and was first rushed into hospital the day after Darren died.

"My gran just couldn't cope. He was her favourite. It's been devastating, and I just don't know where it's going to end."

Miss O'Connor is planning on taking legal action after her son's death, and says she is now waiting for the results of a second post mortem examination.

She added: "At the moment I'm in limbo. I haven't heard anything for a while, as parts of the investigation still need to be carried out as far as I'm aware.

"I'm still waiting to hear back about the second post mortem. Hopefully, this one will be more specific. I also know they're looking at the CCTV footage to see exactly what happened.

"It's not normal. You don't get arrested, taken into a cell and then end up dead."

Earlier this year, Mr O'Connor was nominated for a Pride of South Tyneside award for turning his life around after his accident, which left him in a coma for a month and unable to talk.

"He had enrolled on a training programme at Simonside Youth Initiative Centre.

His mum added: "He'd already been through so much with his accident. It's just an ongoing nightmare,

"Darren was more like my best friend, and I'm at a total loss without him. I need answers, and I know in my heart somebody knows the truth."