A young mother killed herself and her toddler son after she broke up with the boy’s father, an inquest heard.
Hairdressing student Kia Russell, 19, and Kamari Russell, two, were found hanging at their home in Ipswich on March 6 last year, a week before Kamari’s third birthday.
Kia’s father Aaron Russell, who found the pair, told an inquest in Ipswich she had broken up with her partner Carnell Dines two or three weeks earlier.
Suffolk’s area coroner Jacqueline Devonish concluded Kamari was unlawfully killed and that Ms Russell died by suicide.
Post-mortem examinations recorded the cause of death in both cases as compression of the neck caused by suspension hanging.
Hairdressing student Kia Russell, 19, and Kamari Russell (pictured togrther), two, were found hanging at their home in Ipswich on March 6 last year, a week before Kamari’s third birthday
Kia’s father Aaron Russell, who found the pair, told an inquest in Ipswich she had broken up with her partner Carnell Dines two or three weeks earlier. Left: Kia. Right: Her son
Ms Devonish said Ms Russell and Mr Dines ‘made a lovely couple’ and ‘did fight to keep their relationship together’.
She said: ‘They were very young and they were coping with a young child. They were very well supported by their families.
‘Even so we know from medical evidence now that Kia was quietly and silently suffering. She didn’t share that with her family.
‘She briefly mentioned to Carnell and to her mother that she was feeling down but from all the evidence she was a private person. She found it difficult to talk about her emotions.’
Pictured: Carnell Dines, who split up with Kia
Ms Russell had been diagnosed with depression, her GP notes said, with reports of low mood starting when she was in Year 10.
Senior mental health nurse Lynn Harrison, of the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said Ms Russell ‘felt her responsibilities as a young mum were different to that of her peers’, adding that ‘she was quite isolated’.
Coroner Ms Devonish said: ‘The family were totally unaware that she was depressed in the way she was. She seemed quite good at hiding it.’
Ms Harrison said: ‘It’s not unusual for families not to be aware of the amount of emotional pain that’s going on behind.’
Ms Harrison said the relationship break-up was a ‘big destabilising factor’ for Ms Russell.
She said Ms Russell told her in 2018 that she did not wish to have counselling but that she was open to medications and was prescribed the anti-depressant drug Sertraline.
Her mother Leanne Clarke said Ms Russell stopped taking her tablets. Ms Harrison said: ‘She may have started it and had significant side effects.’
Kia’s father, Aaron Russell, said: ‘She was just a happy girl all the time to be honest, always smiling, always laughing, being silly. She was dedicated to her son and her work.’
He described Kamari as a ‘very intelligent young man’, adding that he was ‘always happy, clean, well looked after’.
Post-mortem examinations recorded the cause of death in both cases as compression of the neck caused by suspension hanging. Pictured: Kia’s house where it happened
Mr Dines, giving evidence, said Ms Russell had previously shown him cuts on her wrists and told him she wanted to end her life.
He said: ‘I thought she wasn’t going to go through with it, she just felt down that time.’
His mother Justine Dines said her son was just 14 when Kamari was born.
Detective Constable David Spence, of the joint Norfolk and Suffolk Murder Investigation Team, said police looked at messages between Ms Russell and Mr Dines.
Mr Spence said: ‘There were a number of texts where Kia was explaining she thought Carnell was socialising too much with friends.
‘She thought he should be spending more time at home, not going out spending money, but the general arguments were low level.
‘There’s certainly no reference to violence or anything like that but you could see it was a very up and down relationship that they had together.’
He continued: ‘Clearly they were in difficult circumstances having had their child at such young ages.
‘They did their best but for whatever reasons the relationship has been very tumultuous. They’re a very sad set of tragic circumstances.’
He said Mr Dines was interviewed under caution and released with no further action. He was 17 at the time.
Coroner Ms Devonish expressed her sympathy to family members at Tuesday’s inquest.