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Death of Blackburn baby still a mystery
AN inquest into the sudden death of a three-month-old baby, who slept in the same bed as his mother, has failed to establish how he died.
Timm Joel Phillips, who was born on June 18 last year, was a healthy baby that was growing and developing normally, an inquest heard.
Coroner Michael Singleton was told little Timm was found dead in the bed he shared with his mother, Shellie McLeish, on the morning of September 22.
The night before he died, he had been put down to sleep at the bottom of his mother’s bed, while she slept horizontally across the top of the bed, perpendicular to the headboard.
Miss McLeish was covered with a duvet and Timm was covered with a baby blanket, the court heard.
A post mortem examination failed to determine whether the unusual sleeping arrangements contributed to the child’s death or whether he suffered a natural sudden death, commonly known as ‘cot death’.
Miss McLeish, who lives in Vincent Street, Blackburn, with partner Howard Phillips, told the inquest that she had drunk alcohol and smoked marijuana during the day before her son died but only a ‘minimal amount’.
She had been looking after Timm and her daughter on her own after her partner went out with friends at 10pm.
The devastated mum-of-two broke down in tears as she recounted the events that led up to her son’s death, but added that Timm had fed and slept normally throughout the day and that the only health complaints that she had noticed were a bit of a cold.
The inquest heard Miss McLeish had a visit from a friend in the afternoon and smoked 'two or three drags' from a cannabis joint with her and drank three to four glasses of wine mixed with lemonade.
Her friend left between 10.30pm and 10.45pm.
She said: “In the morning, I got up and went to the toilet and I just thought that something wasn’t right.
“I looked at Timm and he was pale. I picked him up and patted him on the back and he was still warm but he was just so stiff. I knew it wasn’t right.”
An ambulance was called and the youngster was taken to Royal Blackburn Hospital but attempts to revive him failed.
Dr Gauri Batra, a consultant pathologist, told the court that her examination showed Timm had suffered no injuries or infections and so she was unable to ascertain a cause of death.
Coroner Michael Singleton, said: “Either Timm’s death was a natural death, albeit one that we may never know the cause of, or that it was an accidental death purporting to the accidental obstruction of his windpipe, due to the unusual sleeping arrangement that he shared with his mother.
“I cannot flip a coin and say which is the right one so in this case so I will record an open verdict.”