Bristol

Charlotte Bevan inquest: Midwife's 'foreboding' over gorge fall mum

Charlotte Bevan with her partner Pascal Malbrouk and Zaani Tiana Image copyright SWNS
Image caption Charlotte Bevan, her partner Pascal Malbrouk and Zaani Tiana who was four days old

A midwife voiced "grave concerns" for a mother and newborn baby days before they fell to their deaths in the Avon Gorge, an inquest has heard.

Charlotte Bevan vanished from Bristol's St Michael's Hospital with Zaani Tiana Bevan Malbrouck on 2 December.

Alison Woozley said she had a "sense of foreboding" when she met Ms Bevan weeks before and had warned the hospital.

Ms Bevan suffered from depression and schizophrenia but had stopped taking medication in order to breastfeed.

On Thursday the inquest heard evidence from midwives who cared for Ms Bevan, 30, before and after she gave birth.

'Very angry'

Her care plan stated that Ms Bevan was to continue taking the anti-psychotic drug risperidone while Zaani was to be formula-fed, to prevent the drug being passed to her through breast milk.

But community midwife Ms Woozley said when she visited Ms Bevan 10 days before the birth, she realised her patient had stopped taking medication and expressed her concerns to the expectant mother.

Image copyright PA
Image caption A floral tribute was left near the Clifton Observatory

"The plan was clear that Charlotte was to be on 5mg of risperidone once a day.

"She became very, very angry. She was right in my face, saying 'I know my rights as a woman, how dare you tell me what to do'.

"I was extremely concerned for Charlotte's well-being but also for the well-being of the baby. My anxiety was how she could look after a baby," she said.

"I had a sense of foreboding."

She said that on 29 November, after hearing Ms Bevan had given birth, she called the hospital to speak to the midwife on duty, to advise her to look for Ms Bevan's care plan and warn her she had "grave concerns".

Hospital midwife Sarah Grey told the inquest Ms Bevan "behaved like a normal mum of a newborn baby", after Zaani's birth on 28 November.

"She obviously fell in love immediately with her baby, she responded beautifully to her. She expressed no concerns at all."

Fear for baby

But midwife Kerry Lee said Ms Bevan's behaviour had changed by 1 December and she appeared "agitated". Her mother also called to raise concerns.

Avon Coroner's Court heard Ms Bevan told her partner Pascal Malbrouck she had very little sleep since giving birth.

Ms Lee asked a mental health team to assess Ms Bevan within four hours but did not believe Zaani was at risk and so did not contact safeguarding teams.

The midwife said: "I was quite worried. I knew the psychiatry team were on their way."

The team attended and told the midwife Ms Bevan was worried one of them would harm her child and this was "preventing Charlotte from wanting to sleep".

They advised her to take the medication.

Later she was examined by a consultant obstetrician, who arranged for her to be moved to a quiet side room.

"I offered to look after the baby for her but she refused, probably because she thought someone would harm the baby," Ms Lee added.

The inquest has heard that Ms Bevan was seen on CCTV leaving the hospital in slippers, with her baby wrapped in a blanket at 20:36 GMT on 2 December.

Search teams located the bodies of Ms Bevan and four-day-old Zaani, who both suffered fatal injuries consistent with a fall, on 3 and 4 December.

The inquest was adjourned until Friday.

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