Sussex mum’s plea for fresh investigation into daughter’s death

A Sussex mum has launched a petition calling for a new investigation into her daughter’s death.

Joanne Lewendon has been longing for answers as to how her daughter, Georgia, came to her death while in foster care.

Joanne Lewendon with her daughter, Georgia, who tragically died while in foster care in Peacehaven

Joanne Lewendon with her daughter, Georgia, who tragically died while in foster care in Peacehaven

The 11-year-old was found dead with a can of Sure deodorant in her bed at the home of her foster parents in Peacehaven on May 15, 2017.

The medical cause of her death was recorded as cardiac arrest and solvent inhalation.

At the time of her death, Sussex Police confirmed it would not be conducting a criminal investigation and passed the case to the East Sussex Coroner, who recorded an open verdict. This means the jury confirms the death is suspicious, but is unable to reach any other verdicts open to them.

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My 11-year-old daughter has been let down – I am now her voice.

Joanne Lewendon

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Now, Joanne, 40, who lives in Brighton, is calling for a new criminal investigation to get justice for her daughter.

She said: “Georgia was found with a 250ml almost full can of Sure deodorant for women.

“The police did investigate but could not find anything conclusive to say why Georgia died. We don’t think this is good enough.

Georgia. Photo contributed

Georgia. Photo contributed

“I am trying to get them to reinvestigate and open a criminal investigation. One spray of deodorant didn’t kill my daughter.”

Joanne said she hopes Georgia’s legacy will help other families who have lost children while they have been in care.

“At the time my children entered the care system, because I was suffering badly from mental health issues, I am now stable,” she said.

“My 11-year-old daughter has been let down – I am now her voice.”

Georgia's gravestone. Photo contributed

Georgia's gravestone. Photo contributed

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She continued: “I feel angry and sad for Georgia, as this was so avoidable, it really was.

“We are all heartbroken – I’ve suffered with mental health since I was a teenager.

“My son, Bradlee, is very supportive of me and my campaign – he is starting a teaching degree at the University of Sussex in a few weeks. He’s 21 years old and still doesn’t understand what happened to Gerogia – none of us do.”

A spokesman for Sussex Police said: “Police carried out a thorough investigation into Georgia’s sad death, focusing on how she died whilst taking the advice of medical experts.

Photo contributed

Photo contributed

“There was no evidence to suggest any suspicious circumstances or the involvement of a third party.

“Her room was initially treated as a potential crime scene and items were seized to ensure that evidential integrity was maintained ahead of any post mortem and forensic examination.

“The inquest into her death returned an open verdict in that the East Sussex Coroner could not ascertain if the ingestion of deodorant that led to a cardiac arrest had been deliberate or accidental.

“Having reviewed the case, there are no plans to reopen the investigation.”

To sign the petition, visit www.change.org/p/katy-bourne-the-cps-justice-for-georgia-elizabeth-newnham-aged-11-year-s-old.

You can contact Samaritans 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. Call 116 123 or visit www.samaritans.org. They can help.