BBC Strictly’s Annabel Croft ‘haunted’ by nurse’s cruel words during dying husband’s final hours

BBC Strictly’s Annabel Croft ‘haunted’ by nurse’s cruel words during dying husband’s final hours

November 3, 2023

Strictly Come Dancing contestant Annabel Croft is still troubled by a nurse's harsh words in front of her dying husband, Mel Coleman.

The Strictly star, 57, was with Mel for 36 years before he sadly passed away earlier this year at the age of 60, just months after complaining of stomach pain.

Mel died just 16 weeks after receiving a diagnosis and passed away in May this year. Now Annabel, who is currently competing in this series of Strictly with veteran dancer Johannes Radebe, has opened up about the final hours of her husband's life.

She revealed the couple were on holiday in Portugal and were getting ready one morning to see their friend Isabella Cooper, a PhD researcher at the University of Westminster, who they had enlisted to help Mel following his diagnosis.

When Isabella arrived, she told Annabel to call an ambulance for her husband. Despite being rushed to hospital, Annabel said she "never knew" that her beloved husband "wouldn't be coming home".

Annabel and Mel's three children Amber, Lily and Charlie gathered in the hospital with their partners. While many nurses were "angels" in Mel's final hours, Annabel revealed she's been left "haunted" by one who she said "seemed to take pleasure in telling Mel he was dying".

Annabel shared with MailOnline: "When she started to talk like that, I said, 'Can you please come over here and talk to me privately first. I don't want him to hear this.' But she said, 'No, he is the patient. He has to hear that he is dying'."

She also revealed how the nurse responded when their son Charlie asked if Mel had "months or weeks" to live. "'Huh!' Almost laughing, mocking our son. 'No – hours.' Mel heard that, all of it. It was just awful," she said.

The Strictly star also shared that the nurse told them if Mel had a heart attack, they wouldn't try to save him.

"Mel actually perked up," Annabel recalls. "He'd been drifting in and out of consciousness – and said, 'I don't like the sound of that.' He said he didn't want a DNR, a do-not-resuscitate order. I didn't even know he knew the term. I objected, too."

She continued: "This nurse said, 'Listen to me. He's got cancer. We are not resuscitating him.' Like she was enjoying it. I'm haunted by that. So many nights it has kept me awake, remembering the tone of her voice. It was cruel."

Annabel says in that moment "something shifted' and Mel began to say goodbye as both he and the family "realised not only that he was dying, but that he knew he was dying".

She says that she didn't really get a chance to say goodbye to her beloved husband as "it happened so quickly". "And then we . . . watched him die. He took his last breath."

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