Parents may never know why their five-year-old son died

A family who woke to find their five-year-old son had died in his sleep may never know his true cause of death, after an inquest returned an open-ended verdict.

Wednesday, 24th August 2016, 3:44 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 7:41 pm

Jack Beard, of Oxfield Park Drive, Old Stratford, had suffered from febrile convulsions from a very young age, which caused him to have sudden rises in his body temperature, but doctors had considered him to have grown out of the condition.

However, early on November 10 he did not wake up for school as he usually would, the inquest heard today. When his mother, Sarah, checked the youngster, she found he had been sick and there was foam around his mouth. He was lying in a “funny position” and was not breathing.

She immediately dialled 999, but attempts by a neighbour to resuscitate the youngster were unsuccessful.

When the ambulance crew arrived, they declared the boy dead.

Coroner Anne Pember could not give a definitive cause of death, after post-mortem tests came back as inconclusive.

She said: “He was an appropriately cared for and much-loved five-year-old boy.

“He had a history of febrile convulsions and was admitted to hospital.

“The conclusion I insert is that he died of natural causes of unknown origin.”

Leicester Royal Infirmary-based pathologist Nikola Ostojic carried out the postmortem on Jack.

Speaking at the inquest, Dr Ostojic said there was a very small possibility the boy had suffered an epileptic seizure in the night, which in some cases can be triggered by “complex convulsions.”

But he said there was no conclusive proof as such seizures leave “no pathological trace.”

He added that there was no sign of injury on the boy, no sign of a viral infection and no indication the child had an underlying health issue.

A statement from Sarah Beard was read out at the inquest, in which she described her son as “clever and bright with a great ability to remember detail.”

On the night before he died, Mrs Beard and husband James put Jack to bed as usual and did not notice anything unusual about his condition.

In her statement, she described the harrowing moment she realised her son had died the next morning.

“I didn’t know how to deal with the situation,” she said. “Time seemed to stand still.

“I do not know or understand why this has happened to our son.”