Tragic mum killed herself after losing 20 stone to hit ideal weight – as husband warns being thin can't solve depression

Tragic mum killed herself after losing 20 stone to hit ideal weight – as husband warns being thin can't solve depression

January 30, 2022

MUM-OF-ONE Kelly Burndred appeared to be leading a enviable life – she had a loving husband, beautiful daughter and finally the figure she'd always dreamed of after shedding 20 stone.

But the drastic weight loss didn't bring Kelly, 37, the peace of mind she always believed it would and now her husband is warning how his wife's fixation with her size was an outward sign of the internal struggle that was much harder to see – her mental health.

Kelly's size had fluctuated throughout her life – and she'd topped the scales at 30 stone before having gastric band surgery in 2015 that reduced her weight by two-thirds.

Rather than bringing the confidence she'd longed for, Kelly was plunged into torment after her drastic weight loss – with tragic consequences as husband Gareth, 37, explains.

Speaking to The Sun as part of our You're Not Alone suicide prevention campaign, which is calling on readers to know the warning signs in themselves and others and to not be afraid to ask for help, he said: “We hoped, after the gastric bypass, that Kelly would find the happiness she craved.

“The surgery was a big step and it was a worry, but I knew how desperate she was. I just hoped this would help to make her happy.”

Kelly had experienced mental health issues since her school days – something Gareth attributes to her being bullied for her size from the age of 14.

The couple, from Stoke-on-Trent, met on New Year’s Eve 2001 in a local nightclub when Gareth was 20 and Kelly 21. She was a size 20 at the time.

“We were two opposites, and yet we just clicked,” Gareth recalled.

“I was quiet and shy, and Kelly was loud, bubbly and chatty. As I got to know her better, I realised that Kelly’s confidence was just a front.

“Deep down, she was very insecure and unhappy with the way she looked.”


EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost – to suicide.

It doesn't discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.

It's the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes. And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.

Yet, it's rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.

That is why The Sun has launched the You're Not Alone campaign. To remind anyone facing a tough time, grappling with mental illness or feeling like there's nowhere left to turn, that there is hope.

To mark World Suicide Prevention Day, over the course of this week, we will tell you the stories of brave survivors, relatives left behind, heroic Good Samaritans – and share tips from mental health experts.

The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.

Let's all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others. 

You're Not Alone.

For a list of support services available, see the Where To Get Help box lower down in the article.

After two years of dating and having moved in together at the start of 2003, the couple became parents to daughter, Jess, who was born in the September of that year – just two days after Kelly’s 23rd birthday.

Gareth said: “Kelly had been told she would never be able to have children because she had polycystic ovaries.

“When she fell pregnant it was a huge surprise. We couldn’t wait for our baby to arrive.”

While Kelly loved being a mum, she showed signs straight away of postnatal depression.

Kelly couldn't leave the house after having her baby

“She didn’t want to leave the house and she became very withdrawn and anxious,” Gareth recalled.

“She wouldn’t put Jess to bed because she was afraid something might happen to her during the night. I put Jess to bed every night.

“She didn’t trust herself as a mum and it was hard.

“I tried to support Kelly, but I felt she was pushing me away. Our relationship suffered and we went through a really bad patch.

“But in time, the depression eased and we became closer again.”

Kelly also battled with bipolar disorder, having been diagnosed as a teenager.

It affected her moods, causing her to be “up” one day, wanting to do everything and meeting anyone, and severely “down” on others, where she wouldn’t answer the phone or the door, even to Gareth.

Gradually Kelly became more balanced and consistent in her behaviour, and in 2008 she popped the question.

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