Remembering Katie: Ex-Ham&High reporter killed by carbon monoxide
- Credit: Gareth John Davies
In December 2009 Katie Haines was at her happiest – she had just married.
Three months later, shortly after returning from her honeymoon, she was dead. Tragically, Katie, 31, was killed by carbon monoxide poisoning, after a build-up at her home.
The former Ham&High reporter was fit, healthy and full of energy. But she had no idea an invisible, odourless gas – a “silent killer” – had taken hold of her.
One day, when she was having a bath she became drowsy from the poisoning before she fell, hit her head and drowned.
“She was so loving, I can't tell you how much,” Katie’s mother Avril Samuel told this newspaper.
“Even at her age she wouldn't hesitate to come and sit on my lap or have a cuddle.
“Everyone remembers her smile, because in all her photos she's always got a really big smile.”
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Avril, 70, said the family have struggled to move on since losing Katie so suddenly. However they have proven resolute in preventing other people losing their lives in the same way.
After her death the family set up the Katie Haines Memorial Trust. The charity works to ensure people, in particular the most vulnerable, are aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide and the preventative measures they can take.
The mother-of-three said Katie’s positivity, and her passion to support people less fortunate, has driven their campaign for change.
“Katie being a journalist... we always say that if something had happened to us she would have been using her computer to try and raise awareness, so we just felt we had to do it for her.”
Katie, who would now be 42, played netball and tennis, she swam, and she ran two London Marathons. She had two siblings, and worked in PR after journalism.
An avid Arsenal fan, she was the “glue” who brought together her friends. Meticulous, she planned everything to the last detail – on her wedding day her mother was told exactly when she could shower.
Avril said the family, following Katie’s death, had become “experts on something that we never expected to”.
“It is quite hard to retell the story. My husband is very emotional,” she said. "But we both know that this is what we can do for Katie and for other people, so it's very important to us that we carry on as long as we are able to.”
Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas which is produced when a fuel burns inefficiently. The most common sources are faulty boilers, gas fires and cookers. Symptoms include headaches, dizziness, nausea, tiredness and stomach pain.
Safety measures include carbon monoxide alarms and carbon-burning appliances being checked regularly.
For more information about carbon monoxide visit https://www.unitedagainstco.com/
For more information about the Katie Haines Memorial Trust and to donate visit https://www.katiehainestrust.com/