A TWO-MONTH-OLD baby died asleep in bed with his father, an inquest heard.
Harley Jack Wootton, from Sunderland, was lying on the chest of Liam Wootton when the pair both fell asleep.
But Liam, who had drunk five alcoholic drinks that night, awoke some hours later to find a family member holding a lifeless Harley and telling him his son had died.
Coroner Clare Davies told a Sunderland inquest yesterday how Harley died from “bronchial pneumonia contributed to by co-sleeping”.
The court heard how his mother Stephanie Marsden was on a night out on October 9, 2011, when she had left partner Liam at their Grindon home looking after Harley.
Liam, who had been out for a pint earlier in the afternoon, was joined by family and friends including Stephanie’s father Kenneth Marsden.
After having a few drinks in the living room, Liam took Harley upstairs to the couple’s bedroom and lay him down in his cot next to the bed.
Liam fell asleep on the double bed and woke up a short while later to the sounds of Harley stirring.
Giving evidence at the inquest, DS Kevin Dipper, who launched an initial investigation into the incident, recited details of what Liam had told police about the events leading up to Harley’s death.
He said: “At some point Liam was awoken by Harley with what he describes as whingeing.
“He picked Harley up out of the cot and put him on his chest to get him back to sleep. However, that’s the last he can remember as they must have fallen asleep.
“The next thing he remembers is being woken up by Kenneth saying ‘I think Harley has passed away’.”
The inquest also heard how Harley’s grandfather Kenneth had been the one to discover the baby on the bed with Liam at around 1.30am while talking to Stephanie on the phone.
DS Dipper said: “Kenneth went upstairs to Liam’s bedroom and he explains how he found Liam on the double bed lying on his side.
“Kenneth tried to wake Liam but got no response. At this point he noticed that the cot was empty. Harley wasn’t in the cot.”
He added: “He approached the bed and saw Harley was lying face down in the bed. Harley’s face was partially in the pillow.
“Harley was totally still and he immediately got the feeling that something was wrong.”
Mr Marsden, who was still holding the phone with Stephanie on the line, picked Harley up and noticed that the baby’s lips had gone blue so immediately shouted for his wife to call an ambulance.
When paramedics arrived they found Harley with vomit coming out of his nose. He was transferred to Sunderland Royal Victoria Infirmary but was pronounced dead at 2.31am.
A post-mortem examination carried out by paediatric pathologist Dr Sree Annavarapu found an infection on the lungs indicating bronchial pneumonia as well as evidence that Harley suffered lack of oxygen before his death.
Recording a narrative verdict, Clare Davies said the cause of death was primarily natural causes, with the bronchial pneumonia contributed to by co-sleeping.