RID­DLE OF ‘PER­FECT’ BABY GIRL’S DEATH

IN­QUEST TOLD CAUSE OF TRAGEDY MAY NEVER BE KNOWN

Manchester Evening News - - FRONT PAGE - By SO­PHIE WHEELER

A MOTHER re­lived the heart­break­ing mo­ment she found her ‘per­fect’ baby dead in bed in their ho­tel room dur­ing a fam­ily hol­i­day to Crete.

Of­fice man­ager Rachael Fitzger­ald woke up at 6am to find three-mon­thold daugh­ter Lara Mad­docks ly­ing un­re­spon­sive be­side her.

Lara’s fa­ther Mark Mad­docks tried to re­vive the young­ster but she was pro­nounced dead at the scene.

Tests were car­ried out in Greece but ex­perts were un­able to es­tab­lish a cause of death. At an in­quest a doc­tor said Lara’s par­ents, from Hale, may never know the rea­son for their daugh­ter’s un­ex­pected death.

The tragedy oc­curred on July 3 last year af­ter the fam­ily checked into the Vil­lage Heights Ho­tel in the Greek re­sort of Her­sonis­sos. The hear­ing was told Lara, who her mum de­scribed as ‘amaz­ing,’ had re­cently been treated for symp­toms of a cold but oth­er­wise ap­peared to be in per­fect health.

Miss Fitzger­ald told the Stockport hear­ing: “Her last feed that night was about 11pm. About 6am I woke up and I just looked at her though I was fac­ing the other way and turned my head. She was just on her back and just looked very peace­ful and nor­mal but I knew that some­thing’s not right. I said ‘Lara, Lara’ but she never nor­mally wakes till about 8am so it was still early re­ally. I didn’t get a re­sponse and picked her up and her arm just slipped down and chaos went on from there. Mark grabbed her and tried to re­sus­ci­tate her. She was warm, she wasn’t blue. It doesn’t make sense.”

Mr Mad­docks, a Swis­s­port air­craft dis­patcher, said: “We tried so hard for a long time to have a child – for eight years. But in the end it all worked and Lara was so good she slept a lot and didn’t cry – she was per­fect.”

Dr Me­lanie New­bold, a pae­di­atric pathol­o­gist from Manch­ester Royal Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal, said: “I was able to say that Lara looked like a per­fect lit­tle girl and seemed to be well grown for her age and no prob­lems with growth.

“Ab­so­lutely no signs of suf­fo­ca­tion, no ev­i­dence what­so­ever that suf­fo­ca­tion was in­volved in her death. No signs of any ill­ness and in­ter­nal or­gans were all per­fectly nor­mally formed. No ev­i­dence of over­whelm­ing sep­sis. Some ev­i­dence that she might have had a re­cent cold like al­most every­body had. Other than that no pos­i­tive find­ings. Signs of cold wouldn’t have caused her to die. Very rare to find ev­i­dence of why they have died. It’s not un­usual sadly.” She added: “It might just be in the case of a baby just stop­ping breath­ing a sim­ple rea­son. We don’t un­der­stand, know that they can take place but can’t iden­tify them at post mortem as there is no ev­i­dence that this has hap­pened... We used to call it sud­den death syn­drome or cot death, we don’t re­ally un­der­stand all the fac­tors – might be that we never will.”

Record­ing a con­clu­sion of death by nat­u­ral causes, coro­ner Alison Mutch said: “It’s clear that she had quite a lit­tle per­son­al­ity about her. Also came over in the ev­i­dence just how well loved and looked af­ter she was.” She added: “There were no sus­pi­cious cir­cum­stances or third party in­volve­ment and ev­i­dence of pathol­o­gist that her death is from a nat­u­ral cause that could not be as­cer­tained.”

Rachael Fitzger­ald with baby daugh­ter Lara

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