The little baby girl was only 85-days-old when the mother tragically lost her in the most unimaginable accident ever.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on August 7, 2020. It has since been updated.
When a newborn baby is held in our arms, the experience can be overwhelming. The little one makes us feel special, and our heart overflows with wamth and love. We make a silent promise to protect the baby and do everything to take care of them.
But some new moms go through painful experiences that can shatter their world. A mum was left devastated after her 3-month-old little baby girl passed away in an accident when the mom fell asleep while feeding her in the morning. The tiny tot, Collette Hill, was found under her mother, Holly Danton's breasts, unresponsive. The shock and heartbreak of Holly are unimaginable.
Collette was rushed to the hospital as soon as Holly became aware of the situation in the early hours of the morning. She was just 85-days-old. On the morning of July 2018, Collette had woken up at 2 am in the parents' flat situated at Plymouth, Devon, according to The Sun.
Following an investigation by the police titled Operation Lazulis, an inquest was held at Plymouth Coroner's Court. In the report, it was again mentioned that the baby girl was “found unresponsive under the mother’s breast on a sofa,” before she was taken to Derriford Hospital in the ambulance.
The post-mortem report could not determine the cause of death but said that “accidental smothering during breastfeeding during the early hours should be considered.” In the inquest, another possibility was stated. It was brought to notice that the baby could have suffered acute airway obstruction by the soft breast tissue as she was found under her mom's breasts.
Holly confessed that she did not remember if she had been feeding Collette or how she got there but admitted that she had previously fallen asleep while feeding her. She informed the coroner that her baby girl had weight issues since the day she was born and required three hourly feeds to gain weight.
Senior coroner Ian Arrow, who was presiding over the online inquest, was also told that Holly and her husband Adam Hill had been involved in smoking up a little bit of cannabis on the evening of the incident. Adam recalled that after feeding the baby at 11 pm, she fell asleep on Holly who was also sleeping on the sofa, reports Plymouth Live.
He heard a thud at some point in the night and found that Collette had fallen on the floor. Holly was fast asleep and hadn't woken by it so he gave back his daughter to Holly who "tucked her under her arm" as it was time to feed her again. He then told the police that he went back to sleep. Holly, later in the early hours of the morning asked him to prepare a bottle for Collette and that's when she noticed that something was wrong with her daughter.
A tearful and devastated Holly divulged her side of the story during the inquest and said that she was “half-drowsy," and sleeping without her t-shirt as her baby girl was sleeping beside her. Soon she fell asleep, and when she woke up she could not feel her little girl suckling. She admitted to smoking cannabis and not recalling the last feeing session clearly, but she said that she was 75% sure that she was, in fact, feeding Collette.
During the investigation, it was also found that Holly had taken some Tramadol painkillers the night before. Even though the baby had ingested a small amount of the painkiller through breastfeeding, “no effective drugs of abuse” had been found in the system. In the report read by coroner Mr. Arrow, submitted by the forensic pathologist and a pediatric pathologist, it was concluded that "no signs of violence whatsoever" was found on the little one's body as well as no "internal findings of trauma".
Though the parents were arrested on suspicion of murder while the investigation was going on, Detective Con Jennifer Bye revealed that even after they submitted the case "with proposed charges of neglect causing unnecessary suffering," the Crown Prosecution Service refused the criminal charges, concluding it as a tragic and unexplained death.
Detective Bye listed out a few scenarios which pointed towards child negligence but revealed that the “decision not to take any criminal action sat firmly with the CPS.” Coroner Mr. Arrow came to a conclusion and recorded that Collette's cause of death was not clear, and it was possible that she could have been overlaid. Along with the decision, he spoke about the risks of sleeping with the kids saying that there was “a strong risk of co-sleeping with a child” as there are chances of them getting smothered.
One cannot understand how to react in such situations. All we can do is pray for the little soul who's now safe and sound in the hands of God.