Baby boy just four-months-old was found dead in 'filthy' home with traces of cocaine in his system, inquest hears | The Sun
A FOUR-month-old baby boy was found dead in a "filthy" home with traces of cocaine in his system, an inquest heard.
Grant John Storey-Delaney had the class A drug and cannabis in his body when he was found dead in his baby bouncer by mum Sophie Riley, Rochdale Coroner's court was told.
The four-month-old was "turning grey with a blanket over his face" when checked by Ms Riley in the early hours at the home in Rochdale, Manchester, on February 22, 2021.
Paramedics attended to try and save the tot but he had sadly already passed away.
The court was told distressing evidence of the conditions police were met with after attending the house, with "rubbish strewn over the floor", the boiler set at 80 degrees and cat litter trays filled with faeces and urine.
Searching the family's Buckley Lane home in the following days, Detective Inspector Maxwell remarked it was "one of the worst addresses" he had ever been in during her 29 years of service.
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A post-mortem examination found that several factors could have caused or contributed to Grant's death.
These included the temperature of the house, which police measured at 26C at 3:30am, the drugs found in his system, and the "baby bouncer", he was sleeping in which was described as "not a safe long term sleeping position for a child", "either in isolation or combined".
While she ruled the cause of death as unascertained, coroner Catherine McKenna recorded an open conclusion, noting that Grant had been found with drugs in his system in a 'unsanitary' environment.
A scab was found on Grant's head, which pathologost Dr Philip Lumb said was "unlikely to have been caused by his own movements", but also did not contribute to his death.
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Sophie Riley and Grant's dad, Steven Delaney, were both initially arrested on suspicion of child neglect, but were bailed pending further enquiries, the inquest heard.
Giving evidence, DI David Crewe said upon admission to custody, mum Sophie Riley had commented: "I'm not going to lie I have had coke before but never around Grant".
Blood taken from both parents while in custody showed cocaine presence consistent with 'recreational use,' he added.
The court heard the most likely way cocaine and cannabis had entered Grant's body was through "contamination" – for example, if his food was prepared on a surface that had previously touched the drugs.
He told the court he had 'considered' charges of murder and gross negligence manslaughter.
"The difficulty was, due to him having an unascertained cause of death, it was not possible for me to show a causation between positive actions or omissions from any person and Grant's death," he said.
The court heard a number of "non-death" offences are "actively being considered", with enquiries ongoing.
Grant had been classed as a 'child in need' by social services before his birth due to Ms Riley's previous involvement with child protection, which saw her have children removed from her care, the inquest heard.
Independent chair of the Rochdale Borough Safeguarding Partnership Amanda Clarke told the court a child safeguarding practice review had raised 'questions' over why he was not placed on a child protection plan.
She said that as a child in need Grant should have been seen by health and social care professionals weekly, but he was not.
The inquest heard that Ms Riley and Mr Delaney had been more 'engaged' with health and social care professionals in the first two months of Grant's life, but from December the couple refused social workers entry to their home.
Mrs Clarke said the safeguarding review had highlighted the 'theme' of how agencies working with families 'manage and deal with 'what may be seen as non-engagement by parents'.
She added that information sharing between different agencies was 'not satisfactory,' as Grant's GP, who was not included in any reviews or assessments, had important knowledge about Ms Riley's mental health.
Historical information regarding Ms Riley's other children was also not considered as "quickly and fully as it should have been," Mrs Clarke told the court.
Ms McKenna ordered Mrs Clarke to provide further information on the changes made by social services in Rochdale following Grant's death to assist her on whether it was necessary to commission a prevention of future deaths report.
Concluding, she said: "Grant was found in a filthy and cluttered home where the boiler was set to 80C, cat litter trays were filled with faeces and bags of rubbish were strewn across the floor.
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"The post-mortem evidence was unable to arrive an exact mechanism of death.
"I have heard, however, that Grant had drugs in his system, so there is evidence he was exposed to both cocaine and cannabis, and whilst I can't find that this caused o contributed to his death, I felt they should be recorded in the record of inquest."
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