Baby’s death a ‘tragic accident’

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A PENDLE toddler’s death was caused by a tragic accident with a mattress, an inquest has heard.

Two-year-old Harrison Upton was found in his cot at home in St Mary’s Avenue, Barnoldswick, on the morning of July 17th last year.

Burnley Coroner’s Court heard that a mattress, which was standing upright between Harrison’s cot and the bed of his brother Caleb, then aged four, was believed to have trapped the toddler as he tried to climb out of the cot.

The boys’ mother, Samantha Upton, said the mattress was in the room while some decorating was being done in the house.

She said there had been nothing unexpected the night before and that the brothers had gone to bed around 7-15 p.m. after watching a film.

Caleb had asked for a drink at 12-30 a.m. but she said there was nothing unusual.

She was then awoken by Caleb shouting just after 9 a.m. and found Harrison lifeless in his cot. She said it was instantly clear something was very wrong.

The family immediately called for an ambulance but when paramedics arrived they said there was nothing that could be done.

She said the family had been at a complete loss as to what had happened.

DC Keith Rimmer, from the major investigation team at Burnley, told the inquest it was initially unclear to police what had caused Harrison’s death.

After a couple of days, Caleb told officers he had climbed over the mattress in the morning and seen Harrison stood against the side of the cot with his eyes closed.

Pathologist Dr Philip Lumb said there were marks on Harrison’s body e in keeping with the pattern of the bars on the cot as he had been pressed against it.

He said a reconstruction of the scene had shown it would not have taken much force for a child to become trapped between the cot and the mattress, and that the injuries seen were entirely consistent with the mattress falling on him.

He said the cause of death was pressure to the neck and compression of the chest.

Dr Lumb told the inquest that Harrison would have collapsed very quickly and would not have known much about what happened.

Harrison’s father, Nathan Pratt, said it was not unusual for him to try to climb in his cot, and he would try to get onto windowsills.

Following Harrison’s death, his parents were both arrested on suspicion of murder and child cruelty. They were held in custody for two days before being released without charge following a post-mortem examination.

Coroner Richard Taylor recorded a verdict of accidental death.