Toddler left with babysitter died of natural causes

Norfolk Coroner's Court, at County Hall in Norwich.

Norfolk Coroner's Court, at County Hall in Norwich. - Credit: Stuart Anderson

A one-year-old girl left with a babysitter whilst her mother went to the gym died of natural causes, an inquest has ruled. 

Ellie-Mae Ann Wilson-Yearley was being looked after at the home of a friend in Mulbarton when her mother, Emily Yearley, returned to discover her unconscious and lying face down in her cot.

Both her and the friend frantically attempted to resuscitate the toddler but she later died at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

The cause of her death was "unascertained", an inquest at Norfolk Coroner's Court on Thursday (May 5) was told. 

In a statement read at the hearing Ms Yearley, from Poringland, said she and Ellie-Mae had been staying at her friend’s home and shared a bedroom, though her daughter slept in a separate cot.

On the night of her death on July 6 last year the toddler, who had chicken pox, had a high temperature and was off her food but had been given Calpol, she added. 

But she had been asleep on her back beside a baby monitor when she and her friend went to the gym.  

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She added: “When I returned I went to check Ellie-Mae and she was on her front with her head down on the mattress. 

“My first thought was that she doesn’t normally sleep like that. I gave her a little prod but got no reaction or response and I became immediately concerned and picked her up and realised that something was very wrong.”

Her babysitter, who had also been caring for an older child, told the inquest she had gone into Ellie-Mae’s room and had believed she was safely asleep. 

Recording a consultation of death due to natural causes, area coroner Simon Milburn said: “Clearly there was police involvement at the time and they were satisfied that there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding Ellie-Mae’s death. 

“That opinion was confirmed by the clinicians at the hospital and subsequently by the pathologist.

“There is no evidence of any unnatural cause of death in this case in my view having considered the evidence."

• Bereavement support for sudden infant death and safer sleeping advice is available from The Lullaby Trust on 0808 802 6869.