Baby died while sleeping in dad’s bed

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A BABY died after his father fell asleep in bed with him, an inquest heard.

Dad Liam Wootton put two-and-a-half-month-old Harley Jack into his cot, but took him into bed after he awoke crying.

Partner Stephanie Marsden was enjoying a night out with friends when tragedy struck in the early hours of October 9, 2011.

She heard the sad sequence of events unfold after she rang her partner’s mobile to ask what he wanted from the takeaway.

Harley’s maternal grandfather Kenneth, who was staying in the house, went upstairs with the phone to wake Mr Wootton and found little Harley unconscious in the couple’s double bed.

The grandad called 999 and tried to revive him, but he was pronounced dead by doctors at Sunderland Royal Hospital at 2.51am.

His death was looked into by three pathologists, including paediatric pathologist Dr Sree Annavarapu and Dr Richard Bonshek, an eye specialist.

They found small haemorrhages on Harley’s eyes and internal organs and the veins around his eyes were congested.

Dr Annavarapu told Sunderland Coroner’s Court that this could be because of increased pressure and lack of oxygen.

He said: “These pressure changes could be related to the fact that at the scene of the death, the baby was found face down on the pillow and was co-sleeping with his father, which is a risk factor, especially when under the influence of alcohol.”

Toxicology tests – looking for drugs, alcohol or carbon monoxide poisoning – were negative.

and there was no evidence of any injuries.

However, there were signs little Jack was suffering from the very early stages of bronchial pneumonia and bacteria linked with the infection was found in his mouth and throat.

Dr Annavarapu gave the cause of death as bronchial pneumonia compounded by accidental suffocation, because of co-sleeping with parent who is under the influence of alcohol.

Investigating officer Detective Sergeant Kevin Dipper, of Northumbria Police, said police were made aware of Harley’s death at 3.46am by an officer on duty at the hospital.

Mr Wootton was interviewed and told police on the day before Harley died, he had drunk a pint of lager at the Lambton Worm in Sunderland city centre and four cans of lager at the couple’s home in Gardiner Square, Grindon.

He went to bed with Harley at about 10.40pm and put him in his cot, before falling asleep.

He remembered picking him up, then being woken up by Kenneth Marsden, who said Harley had been taken to hospital and he thought he was dead.

Assistant deputy coroner Clare Davies recorded a verdict of natural causes, contributed to by co-sleeping.

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