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Sunday 20 October 2019

Inquest into death of Zoe (3) postponed as Garda probe 'advanced'

A photograph of Zoe Whitford displayed at her funeral. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
A photograph of Zoe Whitford displayed at her funeral. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.

An inquest into the tragic death of a three-year-old Dublin girl has been put on hold as a criminal investigation into it is at a "very advanced stage".

Zoe Whitford died after suffering a reduced supply of oxygen to the brain in an incident at her home in Aubrey Grove, Shankill, on February 13.

Emergency services were called to the home three days before.

Gardai asked for an adjournment of the inquest to allow their inquiry to continue.

Deposition

At the opening of the inquest into his daughter's death at Dublin Coroner's Court, William Whitford said in his deposition that he formally identified Zoe's body at Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin.

Garda Padraig Nagle, of Cabinteely Garda Station, said he met Mr Whitford at the hospital shortly before 4pm on February 13 and that the formal identification was conducted at 4.05pm.

A post-mortem was conducted jointly by State Pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy and Crumlin Hospital pathologist Dr Maureen O'Sullivan.

The cause of death was recorded as cerebral hypoxia, reduced supply of oxygen to the brain. Detective Inspector Martin Creighton, of Dun Laoghaire Garda Station, sought an adjournment of the inquest for six months to allow investigations to continue.

"There is a criminal investigation ongoing. The file is at a very advanced stage," he told the coroner.

Adjourning the inquest to December 12, coroner Dr Myra Cullinane offered her sympathies to the family.

"My condolences to you and the rest of your family on your tragic loss in these circumstances," she told Mr Whitford.

At the little girl's funeral service in February, her heartbroken father told how Zoe loved her family.

"Her first thoughts on waking every morning, was for her brother Max," he said.

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