May 19, 2022, 11:24

    Mum had 2 mins to say goodbye to baby who died as she was wrongly arrested for neglect

    Mum had 2 mins to say goodbye to baby who died as she was wrongly arrested for neglect

    A mum has described the 'dehumanising' ordeal of being wrongly arrested after the death of her baby daughter and having just two minutes to say goodbye to the child.

    Lauren Dunlop was left 'traumatised,' a coronor's court heard, when police took her away from three-month-old Eden-Grace Dunlop, who she'd rushed to hospital after finding her cold and blue at home in their flat.

    Ms Dunlop, who is in her 20s, was initially arrested for neglect and given just two minutes to say goodbye to her daughter and later investigated for murder after a fracture was discovered in the baby's skull.

    The young mum had gone to sleep with Eden-Grace next to her but woke at 8am to find her cold and blue in the face at her flat in Gosport, Hants, the inquest heard.

    Eden-Grace was then taken to Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth, where she was pronounced dead on March 10, 2020 – just three months after her birth on December 10.

    Concerns were then raised by police that Ms Dunlop had consumed cannabis in the presence of Eden-Grace, the hearing was told.

    The devastated mum of one was swiftly arrested and rushed to a police station by a 'bullying' police officer in what her parents described as an 'act of cruelty', Portsmouth Coroner's Court heard.

    But while Area Coroner Rosamund Rhodes-Kemp apologised for the distress this caused, she told the Dunlop family that police were following protocols.

    The inquest into baby Eden-Grace's death was held at Portsmouth Coroners Court

    Alamy Stock Photo)

    Ms Dunlop's father John Dunlop told the hearing: "I just want to know why she was taken away from hospital for six hours when her daughter had just died?

    "Was that really necessary? It seems like an act of cruelty.

    "She should have been given time with her daughter, but she was given less than two minutes.

    "She was harassed when she was trying to say goodbye to her daughter. There was no privacy, they were telling her to rush.

    "I may be coming across as very angry, that's because I am. It's had a catastrophic effect on her mental health. The police officer dragged her away."

    Ms Dunlop added: "I'm worried that other parents will go through that in future, will be rushed away from their dead child.

    "I've been blaming myself for a long time. Throughout this whole ordeal I have felt dehumanised."

    When it later emerged that Eden-Grace had suffered a skull fracture, the coroner heard Ms Dunlop was arrested for murder on March 20 that year.

    Ms Dunlop's other four year old daughter was also placed into the care of her grandparents by social services.

    But Detective Constable Luke Donovan told the hearing there was insufficient evidence for her to be charged with either neglect or murder after an 18 month investigation, with a toxicology examination taken on the day of Eden-Grace's death coming back clear.

    The coroner heard 'happy and healthy' Eden-Grace – who suffered from colic – had fallen from Ms Dunlop's arms as the mother slept.

    But Dr Russell Delaney, who conducted the postmortem, said this incident did not explain a skull fracture the baby had suffered, as it did not fit within the time frame.

    The result of the postmortem was unascertained despite 'forensic' investigation, with the inquest being told a co-sleeping death was possible, but not likely enough to make that diagnosis.

    Mrs Rosamund Rhodes-Kemp concluded: "Eden-Grace remained healthy up until March 10, 2020 when she was found by her mum unresponsive in bed.

    "A hugely extensive postmortem was carried out with multiple experts and any kind of non-accidental injury has been ruled out.

    "Any kind of genetic or infected issues have been ruled out. There is no, and there will never be, a cause of death for Eden-Grace. No one knows quite why she died.

    "The cause of death remains unascertained which is not much comfort to the family.

    "I can understand that is frustrating. There was evidence that her skull was fractured, but [Ms Dunlop] has given reason of how that happened which doesn't fit in the time frame.

    "In any event, it does not explain what happened on that very sad day. We don't know how Eden-Grace died. I wish I had an answer for family, but I don't."

    Mrs Rhodes-Kemp recorded the cause of Eden-Grace's death as open.

    A fundraiser was set up on Go Fund Me following the three month old's death which raised almost £1,500.

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