herald

Friday 21 November 2014

Dad describes horror of Abbi's bunk bed death

A DUBLIN toddler died when she got trapped between an upper bunk bed and the bedroom wall while staying with her father and his partner.

Abbi Cummins was just two days short of her third birthday.

Abbi, who lived with mum Amy Cummins in Ballybough was staying with her father Ken Fitzpatrick and his partner Sophie Casey at their home in Kinnegad, Co Westmeath.

On March 9 last year, Ms Casey put Abbi to bed in the lower tier of a bunk bed. Ms Casey's own daughter, Bayley-Angel Casey (3) was sleeping in the top bunk.

Ms Casey checked on the children at 1.30am before going to bed. She checked again the following morning at 8.30am. When she went into the children's bedroom, her 10-month-old baby son Bo was in his cot, Bayley was playing on the floor and Abbi was stuck between the top bunk and the wall

Screaming

Bayley told her: "Abbi went up to the top bunk, and she was crying for a while, and then fell asleep."

Ms Casey was unable to free the child, and called for Mr Fitzpatrick. They then called 999, and as she administered CPR, Mr Fitzpatrick ran to seek help.

Mr Fitzpatrick told the inquest into his daughter's death at Westmeath Coroner's Court his daughter was visiting him as it was her birthday soon and this was her first visit in two months.

"The following morning, I was in bed when I heard Sophie screaming," he said. "A man from a couple of doors down came and he took over the CPR," he recalled. He said that a few days later, Bayley said to him of Abbi, "she slipped, cried for a minute and she stopped".

Mr Fitzpatrick explained that while there was a safety guard on the outer side of the bunk bed, there was a gap between the bed and the wall because there was a radiator on the wall.

He confirmed he had not told the paramedics Abbi was on antibiotics. He also denied to Ms Cumminsthat he had changed his story "three or four times". "No: you misread me," he said.

Abbi was pronounced dead at the Midland Regional Hospital in Mullingar on March 10.

Pathologist, Dr Miriam Walsh, who carried out a post- mortem, found she died from cardiac arrest secondary to a vasovagal reflex, secondary to pressure on the neck.

The jury recorded a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence.

hnews@herald.ie

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