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'It was totally unexpected' - Parents describe devastation at four-month-old's death

PUBLISHED: 18:12 04 May 2018 | UPDATED: 09:14 05 May 2018

Carrow House.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Carrow House. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2016

The devastated parents of a four-month-old baby who died of sudden infant death syndrome have described him as "beautiful, happy boy."

In witness statements read during an inquest at Norfolk Coroner’s Court, Ian and Emma Palmer, of Carbrooke, near Watton, told how their son Mark had seemed normal and happy on December 6, 2017, but they had woken up the next morning to find him not breathing.

Mrs Palmer, a housewife and part-time respite carer, said: “Mark seemed very happy in himself.

“It was totally unexpected and we are devastated. Mark was a beautiful, happy boy. We will never forget him.”

She also thanked the emergency services for their hard work.

Mark was taken by ambulance to Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, but was pronounced dead later that morning.

Area coroner Yvonne Blake gave an open conclusion that the cause of death was unascertained (sudden infant death syndrome), saying: “It’s one of those things we may never know”.

The NHS describes sudden infant death syndrome, sometimes known as cot death, as: “The sudden, unexpected and unexplained death of an apparently healthy baby.”

In the UK, just under 300 babies die unexpectedly every year.

Mr Palmer, a farm worker, said that because his two young children had ended up sleeping in the bed with his wife that night, he had slept on the floor. He was woken up at around 5.30am by Mark making “normal feeding noises” so he fed his son and went back to sleep until 7am,

Mr Palmer described Mark as “a pretty easy baby”.

When he found Mark unresponsive Mr Palmer immediately woke up his wife who called 999.

The parents then performed CPR under instruction from emergency services until the ambulance arrived.

The inquest also heard that Mark had been admitted into hospital more than once that year, including for an upper respiratory tract infection.

In November 2017 Mark was kept in hospital for several days due to gastroenteritis with diarrhoea, vomiting and reduced feeding.

Mark was also said to have had a soft and benign heart murmur while in hospital due to his illness.

This article has been amended to say that Mark was found at 7am and was taken to hospital in a land ambulance.

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