Parents of baby who died suddenly living a ‘nightmare’ as post mortem fails to identify cause

The parents of a baby boy who died suddenly in his cot say they are living in a ‘nightmare’ after a post-morem failed to find the cause of death.

Charlie Matthew Wilkinson was just eight-months-old when he was found unresponsive in his cot at his grandparents’ house in Wigan. 

His family desperately tried to resuscitate him before he was rushed to Royal Albert Edward Infirmary.

Tragically, he was pronounced dead around an hour later, leaving behind twin brother Finnley.

An inquest into Charlie’s death was held at Bolton Coroner’s Court by area coroner Timothy Brennan today.

It found no identifiable cause of death and ruled natural causes.  

Charlie was pronounced dead around an hour after he was found unresponsive in his cot

It heard how on June 6 last year, Charlie had been at his grandparents’ home in Miller’s Lane with brothers Finnley and Lewis.

It was the first time they had stayed over since before the national lockdown.

As per his normal routine, Charlie was fed, winded and put in his cot.

Nothing seemed untoward until his granddad went to check on him a while later and noticed Charlie was not breathing.

The grandparents frantically dialled 999 and attempted CPR as instructed by the phone operator.

Charlie’s mother and father, Katie Benson and Adam Wilkinson, had been living nearby at the time.

They were told what had happened when a family member knocked on their door.

‘There was a banging at the door, it was my brother-in-law,’ Katie said while giving evidence at the inquest.

‘He said the baby wasn’t breathing. I just got in my car. I just wanted to get to my baby.’

Medics attempted to resuscitate Charlie for just over an hour before he was pronounced dead at 9.29pm.

A post-mortem examination found no evidence he had any abnormalities, injuries or illness.

Charlie's family wept as a statement from his mother Katie Benson was read out in court

Charlie’s family wept as a statement from his mother Katie Benson was read out in court

It failed to identify any real cause of death.

Abigail CallenderIddon, a consultant paediatrician at the Royal Albert Edward Infirmary, said Charlie was not unwell and they found no evidence of infection.

She told the court: ‘He was happy; he was put to bed in a cot deemed safe and suitable and the room temperature was suitable.

‘There were no bruises found. Everything was just an unfortunate series of events.’

Charlie’s family wept as a statement from his mother Katie Benson was read out in court.

She said: ‘Our life was perfect until this nightmare began.

‘Charlie always amazed us at how well he reached every milestone in the neonatal unit.

‘Charlie was just beginning to crawl and was always smiling. He loved to play with his brother.

‘In the days leading up to what happened to Charlie, he was doing well and sleeping through the night.

‘The (twins) both had regular checks and were doing well. They were happy and healthy.

‘On June 6, we took Lewis, Finnley and Charlie around to their grandparents. It had been the first time after lockdown.

‘We all miss Charlie terribly and it has come as a shock to us all.

‘How can my healthy baby just go to sleep and never wake up? It will always be a question that will never leave my mind.’

Before concluding the inquest, area coroner Timothy Brennan said: ‘It’s not just every parent’s worst nightmare, it’s every grandparent’s nightmare.

‘This tragically is simply one of those phenomena that can take a baby in one of these circumstances.

‘These are difficult and harrowing cases. There was nothing wrong with him; he was born premature at 33 weeks but the post-mortem failed to identify a cause of death.

‘Paramedics said he had gone into cardiac arrest.

‘It’s clear to me that in relation to what you have both said in your statements and your attendance before me in the proceedings, the nightmare for you continues.

‘What you struggle to come to terms with is not the enormity of your loss, but none of the experts could give you a reason why.

‘It makes the loss you endure all the harder to comprehend or understand. For your loss I have nothing but true sorrow.’

He ruled Charlie’s death as unascertainable but on the balance of probability a natural cause. 

Charlie’s parents earlier said: ‘Until the day we take our last breaths, we will never understand why this would happen to us as a family and our special blue eyed boy.

‘Everyone who knew Charlie knew him for his infectious big smile and gorgeous blue eyes, so happy and so full of life.

‘In the short eight months we made so many amazing memories that I will hold on forever. You left a massive impact on everyone’s life who knew you.

‘Never in a million years did we think that was going to be your last nap. There were no signs, no warnings, just a massive hole in our hearts and a nightmare we will have to live with forever.

‘Sleep tight baby boy. Mummy and daddy will be forever proud of you and make sure your memory will forever live on.’

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