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A mum who had no idea she was pregnant died from sepsis after suffering a stillbirth.

Leeann Troughton, 44, thought she was struggling with lactose intolerance after experiencing stomach pains in the run-up to Christmas.

However, her condition quickly deteriorated and her husband Richie took her to hospital on December 20, Chronicle Live reports.

A day later he received a call telling him his wife was five months pregnant and had suffered a miscarriage – and was in intensive care with sepsis.

Richie, from Ashington, Northumberland, said: “We had no idea Leeann was pregnant. The first I’d heard was that phone call from the hospital.

“It was absolutely heartbreaking. I had no idea what to say.

“I couldn’t believe it. Our baby girl had died inside Leeann and she’d had a stillbirth.

“I was able to go to the hospital to meet her and we called her Sarah. Leeann would have loved her. She’d have loved a little girl.”

Coronavirus restrictions meant he was unable to stay by his wife’s side after he took her to hospital.

Leeann’s condition deteriorated after the sepsis began attacking one of her heart’s valves.

Sepsis causes the body to attack its own organs and tissue in response to an infection.

The former carer was transferred to Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital where she underwent open heart surgery and a tracheotomy in a bid to save her life.

But a week later, doctors told Richie there was nothing more they could do and on January 22 Leeann’s life support machine was tragically switched off.

Richie, a 36-year-old carer, said: “I was devastated. It was like my life was over more or less. I’ve lost everything.

“Everything happened so quickly. I still haven’t taken everything in yet. I’m trying to be strong but it’s so hard.

“The doctors were fantastic at both hospitals. At one stage I had Sarah in Cramlington and Leeann in Newcastle and they helped to get Sarah transferred too so they were together.

“Leeann was amazing – she’d do anything for anyone. She loved hosting dinner parties, walking the dogs, swimming and horse riding.

“We were foster carers in the past and we’d intended continuing with it again the future.

“She did everything for us and I just miss her so much.”

The heartbroken family now faces the traumatic experience of planning a double funeral for mother and baby.

Leeann’s friend Joanne Cole, 47, set up the GoFundMe page after Richie admitted he may not be able the rent on the family home, which is shared with Leeann’s mum Lena and cousin Brian, as well as funeral costs.

More than £1,700 has been raised in just two days which Joanne says is a testament to how well-loved Leeann was.

She said: “I’m absolutely devastated. We were friends for around 25 years.

“Leeann was very bubbly, kind and caring. So many people loved her because she was so friendly and nice with everyone.

“Richie said he couldn’t pay for the rent and the funeral so I offered to help.

“It’s heart-wrenching and words cannot describe how much she will be missed.”