Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Tragic Baby Was Failed by System

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Tragic Baby Was Failed by System

Article excerpt

Byline: Katie Davies Chief Reporter

A VULNERABLE baby who died in her mother's arms was not given the "protection she deserved", a damning report reveals.

Drug addict Amanda Cole was recovering from taking amphetamines when three-week-old daughter Michaela suffered a fractured skull. A court heard the injury to the child was caused by either a forceful impact or crushing but prosecutors could not prove whether it had been caused deliberately or accidentally. Cole - who had care of Michaela at the time - denied causing the injury but pleaded guilty to neglect on the basis she ignored warnings to stop taking drugs and not to sleep in the same bed as her daughter.

Now an investigation has found there were "significant safeguarding failures" leading up to the baby's death, which has led to some council workers facing disciplinary action.

The report - commissioned by the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) - found that although it was difficult to link any of the circumstances of the case directly to the cause of the death of Michaela, known as Baby Eve in the report, "it is possible that had legal orders been sought then, following her birth, Eve would not have returned home to the sole care of her parents until proper assessment had taken place in circumstances where Eve's safety was guaranteed away from the family home".

Michaela, who was the subject of a child protection plan for neglect, was born on March 9, 2013, with a dependence on methadone.

On March 30 an ambulance was called to the family home in Cramlington, Northumberland, when Michaela appeared lifeless on the sofa with Cole, who was asleep.

She was taken to hospital and a pathology report identified a fractured skull and another neurological injury.

A post-mortem examination revealed a large bruise to the top of the head, a skull fracture, haemorrhage to the lungs and a haemorrhage around the spinal cord.

The report reads: "Although the likelihood is that the fracture was the result of either a forcible blunt blow to the head or an injury caused from being dropped, crushing or symptoms relating to sudden death in infancy cannot be fully eliminated. …

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