'I screamed an awful lot. I don't remember much after that' - Leigh Arnold tells inquest about son's cot death
Published 15/04/2014 | 06:40
A TV actress found her two-and-a-half-week-old son dying in her sleeping fiancé's arms after she returned from a night out, an inquest heard.
Leigh Arnold, 34, became "anxious" about her baby son, Flynn, while out for dinner with a friend.
She returned to their home in Ashley, Cheshire, at 1am to find her fiancé Steve Davies asleep with Flynn lying in his arms, grey in the face.
Miss Arnold recalled the harrowing incident at her son's inquest yesterday.
She said: "I could tell by the colour of his face that something was wrong. I screamed an awful lot. I don't remember much after that."
Mr Davies, a director, said: "I awoke to find Leigh in hysterics. Flynn wasn't himself. He was grey in the face."
Mr Davies tried to resuscitate Flynn, taking instruction from a 999 operator.
The newborn made "a gurgling noise" during resuscitation, sparking hope he was coming round, but paediatrician Dr Catherine Lenton told Coroner Dr Janet Napier this was just air leaving the baby's body and he could not be saved.
Paramedics rushed Flynn to Wythenshawe Hospital, where he died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or cot death, at 2.25am on May 18, last year.
Irish actress Miss Arnold, who has another son, Hunter, aged two, had earlier phoned home to check up on Flynn as
she was "anxious about him".
Fighting back tears, she said: "I could hear him gurgling - happy gurgling. I knew they were having a lovely time.
"Flynn was a perfect baby. He was healthy and extremely loved every second of the day."
A post-mortem investigation found a possible broken rib, but pathologist Gauri Batra told the coroner it was "not suspicious".
Coroner Napier returned a verdict of death by natural causes at Macclesfield Town Hall.
She said: "I want to say that I understand how this feels for you but I can't imagine what it feels like."
Miss Arnold, who has starred in a number of Irish TV dramas, was too distraught to speak after the hearing.
Mr Davies said: "This is a difficult time for the family."
The couple will marry in Ibiza next month after delaying the wedding because of Flynn's death.
Over the past decade, Miss Arnold has become one of the biggest names on Irish television.
She is probably best known for her long, ongoing role in drama The Clinic where she played Dr Clodagh Delaney.
In February, she told the Irish Daily Mirror of her heartache at Flynn's death.
She said she was taking "one day at a time" as she struggles to come to terms with her grief - and had taken a step back from the limelight since losing Flynn.
She said: "I'm not ready for any new parts. I'm not ready. I'm now feeling open enough to start looking.
"But it's been the most awful year of my life, obviously, and I would very much like to have the confidence to go out and start looking again."
Leigh with Hunter as a baby
The 34-year-old has also said that she finds it difficult to spend time away from her two-year-old son Hunter, who will have a very special role on her wedding day.
"He is going to be ring bearer, he is going to be the main man," she said, laughing.
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