Lily-Mai Hurrell Saint George: Ten-week-old baby unlawfully killed

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A baby girl who died from a serious head injury after being found unresponsive at her home was unlawfully killed, a coroner has ruled.

Ten-week-old Lily-Mai Hurrell Saint George died at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London in February 2018.

She had 19 rib fractures and a serious head injury, the inquest at St Pancras Coroner's Court heard.

The coroner said Haringey children's services' decision to discharge the baby was "utterly bewildering".

The court heard Lily-Mai was born premature and had spent the first two months of her life in Barnet Hospital.

At the time she was discharged into her parents' care on 25 January 2018, healthcare professionals had raised concerns about Lily-Mai being sent home to her parents, Lauren Saint George and Darren Hurrell.

'Feeling of anxiety'

Sithembile Dzingai, who dealt with allocating health visitors, said healthcare professionals had raised concern as the parents did not visit or call to check on Lily-Mai's condition for three or four days while she was in hospital.

A referral was made to a social worker, Ms Dzingai said, adding there were concerns with the baby being discharged with "no robust plan in place to support the parents".

"In my 12 years as a health visitor I've never had such feeling of anxiety about a case as I did about Lily-Mai being discharged in this way, because there were a number of concerns," she said.

When repeatedly asked by senior coroner Mary Hassell whether she thought Lily-Mai was safe being left with her parents at their home in Haringey, north London, health visitor Alberta Nyantakyi said "no".

'Really worried'

She said she contacted social worker Theresa Ferguson and expressed her concerns about the baby's safety, stating she did not think it was the right decision for Lily-Mai to be discharged back to the care of her parents.

Ms Ferguson, from Haringey children's services, said she made a referral for a meeting which subsequently took place on 31 January, where it was agreed the parents would go into a mother-baby placement.

She said she visited the parents on that day, where Ms Saint George got "frustrated and angry" about the mother-baby placement, while Mr Hurrell was "calm and ordered" with Lily-Mai swaddled inside his jacket.

That night, Lily-Mai was taken into hospital where she died two days later.

When asked by the coroner whether she felt Lily-Mai was safe being left with her parents, Ms Ferguson said: "I didn't think there would be immediate harm."

But she added: "I was really worried about her."

The inquest heard Lily-Mai's cause of death was a head injury caused by shaking and impact, and the level of force was significantly greater than what would be termed as rough handling.

The Met Police said there was insufficient evidence evidence to charge either parent.

Det Sgt Ian Valentine said they "explored every possible avenue".

Ruling Lily-Mai was unlawfully killed, Ms Hassell said: "I am entirely convinced that Lily-Mai had died as a consequence of injuries that were non-accidental, given the force that I've heard would have needed to be applied to suffer these injuries."

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