Mum went home from work unwell with the common cold, and never woke again. Her husband shares his heartbreak.

Rachel Richardson, 34, was found lifeless in her bed by her husband Gareth at the couple’s Gold Cost home on July 13.

‘She went home [from work], made herself a cup of tea, put a pie in the oven, got out of her work clothes and lay down,’ Gareth told Daily Mail Australia.

‘But she never resurfaced.’

Rachel’s death was a mystery for two months – only now doctors have confirmed that her death was caused by bacteria from her cold entering her bloodstream.

Gareth said his wife had a runny nose and sore throat – but nothing to suggest she was suffering from anything more than a ‘normal middle of winter cold’.

After the tragic death of his wife, Gareth was left a widower and sole parent to the couple’s two young daughters Kate, 4, and Anna, 18 months.

Gareth told Daily Mail Australia of his desperate search for answers after discovering his late wife’s body on July 13.

‘There were a lot of unanswered questions, not just from myself but everyone,’ he said.

Gareth said the heartbreak of losing his wife was made worse because of how sudden and unexpected it was.

‘The shock of that tragedy kind of hits you in the face, and leaves you pretty hollow,’ he said.

But what followed was even worse, said the Gold Coast man.

He had to explain to his two daughters what had happened, and then make the heart wrenching call to Rachel’s parents in England.

‘I explained to Kate that mummy’s heart stopped working and it was just the three of us now,’ he said.

‘But it wasn’t as hard as the conversation with Rachel’s parents, that was a much tougher conversation.

‘They were shattered, like any parent who loses a child. It was heart-wrenching for them.

‘They felt a long way away and helpless.’

Eight weeks after the tragic discovery, Gareth said his family finally had answers.

Confirmed streptococcus bacterium had released fatal toxins into her bloodstream, Gareth said his family could now properly grieve.

And while two months had passed, Gareth said no time would heal his pain.

‘You learn to live with it, but you never get over anything like that,’ he said.

“The shock of the tragedy kind of hits you in the face and leaves you pretty hollow,” Mr Richardson told Daily Mail Australia.

“The most comforting part is knowing it’s not a genetic thing and the girls don’t have to live life wondering what may happen to them,” Gareth said.

“Even if I had been there and rushed her to hospital, we still would have lost her”.

Our thoughts are with Gareth and his family.

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  • How awful for this family. Terribly sad. Just shows that a ‘common cold’ can turn into much worse. RIP to the mum and wishing strength and love to dad left behind with the little ones.


  • So tragic that this can happen in these days.


  • So shocking. How can someone even imagine that such a horrible thing can happen? So sad for her parents, for her husband and the two kids. :-(


  • This is so very sad. It is proof that we should always feel able to question any ailment we have and discuss it with a Dr – nobody has the ability to trivialise our health or diminish what we instinctively know about our own bodies.


  • What a tragic story ! My thoughts and prayers go out to Gareth, Kate, Anna and the rest of the family.


  • So very very sad. People should always take care of themselves no matter how trivial the illness may seem.


  • I didn’t think anyone could die of a common cold, very scary. I hope this family has lots of support from immediate family and friends. It would be a very tough time for them. Very sad!


  • Heartbreaking for this poor family – every sympathy goes to them.


  • My prayers are for Gareth and his children,very sad.


  • This is heartbreaking. My sister lost a colleague in a similar way. It just makes me even more determined to make the most of every day as we really don’t know when it will be our last.

    • I agree-A good message. Again every sympathy to the family.


  • What a sad tragic story.My heart goes out to the family.


  • A shocking tragedy. I hope family and friends continue to give the family plenty of support, not forget them after a few weeks as happens so much. Dad has to cope with his own grieving process and his children at the same time. It often takes months or often a year or so for a person to suffer the loss and come to terms with the whole situation. It is much harder to be strong for your children. I know of one Dad who waited until he was sure his children were sound asleep, had a shower and a good cry before he felt able to really help his children get through the trauma. All of them attended counselling for some time.


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