News We must pre­vent an­other Child E

Nuneaton Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - Keep­ing chil­dren safe is ev­ery­one’s re­spon­si­bil­ity...we would urge any­one who has any sus­pi­cions to speak out...

CHIL­DREN’S char­ity the NSPCC has urged peo­ple to act to pre­vent any re­peat of the “tragic” case of the baby who died with co­caine and al­co­hol in his sys­tem.

A five-month-old baby boy, known only as Child E, was found un­con­scious at his Coven­try fam­ily home af­ter he had slept in a bed with his mother and her brother fol­low­ing a party.

The mother said she had drank six or seven cans of lager be­fore tak­ing the baby to the bed­room at about 4.30am.

She then fell asleep with her arm over the baby’s stom­ach be­fore be­ing wo­ken up at about 9am to the sound of her brother scream­ing the baby’s name.

The baby ar­rived at hos­pi­tal with dirt in his ears, armpits, fin­ger­nails and navel. He also had se­vere cra­dle cap and a full wet nappy.

Af­ter failed at­tempts to re­sus­ci­tate him, the baby boy was pro­nounced dead at Univer­sity Hos­pi­tal, in Wals­grave, in May 2014.

It later emerged that there were traces of co­caine and al­co­hol in his sys­tem when he died.

De­spite ev­i­dence of the young­ster liv­ing in “filthy” con­di­tions, as well as ev­i­dence of “drug use, cannabis cul­ti­va­tion” and “pos­si­ble ne­glect and do­mes­tic vi­o­lence” in his home, no­body has been charged over the death of Child E.

An NSPCC spokesman said: “This child was liv­ing in ap­palling con­di­tions be­fore his tragic death, with a se­ri­ous case re­view de­tail­ing dis­turb­ing ev­i­dence of drug and al­co­hol abuse.

“Keep­ing chil­dren safe is ev­ery­one’s re­spon­si­bil­ity, and though the re­view said there were no sig­nif­i­cant rea­sons for the au­thor­i­ties to be con­cerned at the time, we would urge any­one who has any sus­pi­cions or wor­ries about a child’s wel­fare to speak out.

“It could en­sure the child gets the help they need, be­fore it’s too late.

“They can call the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000 and speak to trained ad­vis­ers who, if nec­es­sary, can act on their be­half.”

A se­ri­ous case re­view re­port out­lined the cir­cum­stances lead­ing up to the death of Child E.

An in­quest in April 2015 recorded a ver­dict of ac­ci­den­tal death with as­phyxia as the cause. Traces of co­caine and co­caethy­lene, formed when al­co­hol mixes with co­caine, were found in Child E’s blood, bowel and urine. But the re­port added there was no sug­ges­tion drugs or booze had been given to the baby de­lib­er­ately.

It read: “The pathol­o­gist stated that the death should not be con­sid­ered as the re­sult of sud­den in­fant death syn­drome (SIDS) as fac­tors such as the un­safe sleep­ing en­vi­ron­ment, tox­i­co­log­i­cal sta­tus or a com­bi­na­tion may have played a role in Child E’s death.”

Po­lice flagged up the shock­ing liv­ing con­di­tions in the re­port which read: “The kitchen was dirty with grease, and the bed­room where Child E slept was damp, dirty and clut­tered with food.”

At the time of the death cannabis was be­ing grown in the loft above one of the chil­dren’s bed­room. The re­port raised con­cerns that a proper as­sess­ment of the child’s liv­ing con­di­tions had not been un­der­taken prior to the young­ster’s death. This was put down to the agen­cies in­volved us­ing an in­cor­rect ad­dress and the mother be­ing un­avail­able.

The fam­ily GP had also failed to carry out de­vel­op­men­tal checks on the baby. De­spite the cir­cum­stances of the baby’s death, and the par­ents’ his­tory of al­co­hol and drug abuse the young­ster’s three sib­lings were later placed back into their care. The re­port con­cluded that noth­ing sig­nif­i­cant was missed by agen­cies that could have pre­vented the baby’s death.

In 2016, the Tele­graph re­vealed im­por­tant ev­i­dence about the case was never re­ceived by the Crown Pros­e­cu­tion Ser­vice due to a com­puter er­ror.

Po­lice said the case would be re­viewed but a de­ci­sion was taken not to pros­e­cute any­one in re­la­tion to Child E’s death. The CPS is­sued a state­ment this week af­ter the Tele­graph asked for an up­date. It read: “Af­ter the pub­li­ca­tion of the Se­ri­ous Case Re­view (SCR), West Mid­lands Po­lice for­warded a file of ev­i­dence to the CPS on April 21, 2016 re­quest­ing, for the first time, a charg­ing de­ci­sion in re­spect of any of­fences in con­nec­tion with the death of Child E.

“Fol­low­ing a very thor­ough re­view of the ev­i­dence and the gath­er­ing of fur­ther ex­pert med­i­cal ev­i­dence, the CPS de­cided in Jan­uary 2017 that there was in­suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence to pro­vide a re­al­is­tic prospect of con­vic­tion for any such of­fences.

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