Mum of measles victim Gareth Colfer-Williams fears he is "poster boy" of Swansea outbreak
THE mum of the Swansea man who died as a result of measles during this year’s epidemic said she feared he was becoming the “poster boy” of the virus.
Angela Colfer said her son Gareth Colfer-Williams was a loving son, grandson, brother, partner and father.
And that’s how the family would remember him.
Mrs Colfer said the new measles outbreak in the Swansea Valley was dredging up painful memories, and that she didn’t want Gareth’s daughter Dakota to see images of her late dad resurfacing in the media.
But Mrs Colfer admitted her own memories of her 25-year-old son were clouded by the extent of his sick condition in the days leading up to his death on April 18.
“I just remember him being so very ill,” she said.
The 53-year-old, of New Street, Swansea, said the family had unanswered questions about aspects of his treatment in the days before he was found dead at his Port Tennant flat.
These concerns related to a stay of several days at Morriston Hospital and then contact with city’s Kingsway Surgery.
In Mrs Colfer’s view, Gareth should have been readmitted to hospital. She has contacted Swansea firm Douglas-Jones Mercer Solicitors to try to ascertain if there are any grounds for legal action.
Craig Shipp, one of the firm’s solicitors, told the Post the family had been in contact but that he could not say much until he had all the relevant documents.
Mrs Colfer said Dakota, aged four, had asked why her dad could not come to see her when his image appeared on television.
“He was a 24/7 dad,” said Mrs Colfer. “He was a brilliant father. If he got money on his birthday he would buy stuff for Dakota.”
Her son had five sisters and attended Morriston comprehensive before a stint working for a car valeting business. She said he was also in the Territorial Army for a year, and had cared for his grandfather after a heart bypass.
She added that Gareth, who was unemployed at the time of his death, loved films, reading nonfiction, and was a very good cook who wanted to train as a chef.
“We are a big family, and he would do the Christmas meal for 12 or 20 people,” she said.
He and his partner Cairo Onein, now 27, and Dakota had been living in the Port Tennant flat for around six months.
Gareth had not been vaccinated against measles — a decision his mother said she had not taken lightly at the time.
An inquest in July heard that Gareth had been treated at Morriston Hospital for alcohol problems before his death, and was thought to have taken an overdose of an anti-depressant, amitriptyline, in early April.
The cause of death was giant cell pneumonia as a result of measles, and Swansea coroner Philip Rogers recorded a verdict of death by natural causes.
Mrs Colfer said her son did drink, but only after Dakota was in bed, but did not take drugs.
Cairo, she added, was doing a brilliant job with Dakota.
Kingsway Surgery said it could not comment due to patient confidentiality, while an Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board spokeswoman expressed its sincere condolences to the family.
“We have not received a complaint from his family regarding his earlier care at Morriston Hospital, and no concerns were raised with us by the coroner,” she said.