In the UK, A baby girl was found lifeless under her father’s arm who suffocated her by accident while they slept.
In January 2020, Asha-May Finney Hulme, an 18-days-old baby girl from St Blazey, Cornwall, was found unresponsive in the bed and was rushed to hospital, where she was declared dead on arrival.
Asha-May’s parents from Manchester originally told police and paramedics that the newborn was found lifeless in her crib before they started CPR.
The cause of the baby’s sudden demise was initially put down as unexplained infant death.
But later, the parents revealed that she was in their bed and suffocated under the arm of her father, Michael Finney, the inquest in Truro heard.
Asha-May’s mum, Alise Hulme, told the inquest that she found her daughter under his arm when she woke up at 6 am that morning after asking her partner to make sure he put the baby back in her crib after feeding her during the night.
Michael had initially given conflicting reports about what happened, but said he was unsure how Asha-May came to be under his arm, describing his daughter’s death as his “worst nightmare”.
During his statement, it was revealed that he went to his neighbor’s house next door while his daughter was sleeping, claiming he was only gone for around 10 to 15 minutes.
“It stands to reason if she was put in the crib at 2 am on your evidence, someone must have got her out between 2 am and 6 am, a baby less than three weeks old won’t be able to get herself out of the crib, that’s right isn’t it?” the coroner asked.
“That is right,” Michael replied.
“So it’s going to be either you or Miss Hulme who has taken Asha-May out of the crib?” the coroner continued.
“I don’t remember,” Michael replied. “I put Asha-May in her crib then fell asleep then got woken up by Alise with Asha-May under my side.”
Michael said he “didn’t know” how she ended up beneath him.
The investigation also heard evidence from Bethany Wilton, one of the medical professionals who looked after the family when Asha-May was taken to hospital. She told the coroner that Michael was “distraught” and told her “it was all his fault”, but he didn’t elaborate further.
DC Christian Ferris, of Devon and Cornwall Police, said he was contacted by the baby’s mother following the breakdown in her relationship with Michael.
Alise gave him an alternative version of events of what happened, and both parents were interviewed for a second time. DC Ferris said Michael chose to give no comment.
“It’s now accepted in evidence that when both parents awoke on the morning of January 6, 2020, Asha-May as a matter of fact was in their bed and under the right arm of Mr. Finney,” the coroner concluded. “This is at odds with the version of events given by both of them to clinicians at the hospital and as Mr. Finney was the person who last fed Asha-May, it seems likely to me he brought her into the bed.”
“She could not be resuscitated, it’s more likely than not she had been unintentionally overlain, and given those are my findings, I think it’s appropriate to record a conclusion of an accidental death.”
“I would like to extend to both parents and the wider family my condolences for the loss of Asha-May and I’m very sorry we’ve met in these circumstances,” he added.
He said the medical cause of death was now hypoxic injury following an upper airways obstruction. The coroner said Asha-May died at Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro after being found unresponsive in her parents’ bed in St. Blazey.
It was reported that no police action would be taken.
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