Six-week-old baby died after slipping from her mother’s grasp while they were sleeping on the sofa | The Sun
28th October 2022

A SIX-week-old baby died after slipping from her mum’s grasp while they were sleeping on the sofa, an inquest has heard.

Lilly-Marie Tina Harris had been “fit and well baby” before she died at the Evelina Children’s Hospital on February 3, 2021.

Today, Inner London Coroners Court heard that after being bottle-fed at the family home in Woolwich on February 1, she fell asleep in her mum’s arms at around midnight.

Both her parents subsequently fell asleep until her dad woke “with a start” shortly before 3am and realised that the newborn had slipped from her mum’s grasp.

Reading from a statement provided to the Metropolitan Police, Assistant Coroner Fleur Hallet said: “He could not see that Lilly-Marie’s mother was holding Lilly-Marie anymore. She had slipped underneath her mother and he immediately wake Lilly-Marie’s mother up.”

They immediately noticed “something was wrong” and the London Ambulance Service were called at 3.05am.

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Lilly-Marie was rushed to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich in a state of cardiac arrest and upon her arrival, returning spontaneous circulations was achieved but the baby had a very slow heartbeat with “no respiratory efforts”.

An inquest at Inner South London Coroner’s Court heard that her pupils were fixed and dilated, her abdomen soft and there was no movement or spontaneous breathing.

A CT scan subsequently found that she had suffered a severe hypoxic brain injury.

She was taken via the South Thames Retrieval Service to the Evelina Children’s Hospital in Lambeth, and was given adrenaline upon arrival.

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Further investigations were performed, including a chest-X Ray but she was deemed “too unstable” for a skeletal survey.

She remained unresponsive and following a discussion with her parents, a death by neurological criteria test was performed. She was sadly pronounced dead at 11.43am on February 3.

A detailed forensic and paediatric post-mortem examination gave her cause of death as a 1a) generalised and diffuse ischemia affecting the brain and spinal cord following an unsafe sleeping environment involving close sleeping with an adult.

Ms Hallett continued: “There were no other findings of concern from the post-mortem report that were inconsistent with the facts provided.”

“Considering the evidence I've heard, my provisional view is that on the balance of probabilities, it would be safe to me to return a short form conclusion of an accidental death,” she said.

“An accident is considered to be an event where there is no human control.”

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She continued: “Given the evidence we have heard, on the balance of probabilities, which is more likely or not, it is appropriate for me to return a conclusion of accident.”

Before closing the inquest, she offered her condolences to the family, who were not in attendance at the hearing.

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