Thursday 22 February 2018

Mystery over severe head injuries that caused death of toddler Jamie

O'Meara also
at the court
Kieran O'Meara also at the court
Zoe Sutton at the Coroner's Court

Gareth Naughton

MYSTERY surrounds the cause of severe head injuries which killed a 23-month-old boy.

Jamie Sutton suffered injuries which were similar to those caused by a high-speed car crash or a fall from scaffolding, Dublin Coroner's Court heard.

His mother said that the toddler had fallen from his cot on several occasions and fallen down the stairs five days previously.

On the day Jamie was hospitalised, her boyfriend Kieran O'Meara said he found the toddler upstairs on the floor, pale and having vomited.

He brought him downstairs to clean him up and then took him outside and held him in his arms while jumping on an adult trampoline to try to "perk him up".


Two days later, Jamie of St John's Park in Waterford, died at Temple Street Children's Hospital -- having suffered a significant fracture to the base of his skull.

Coroner Dr Brian Farrell said that it was not possible to determine the means by which the death came about and returned an open verdict last night.

Gardai previously prepared a file for the DPP who directed no prosecution take place.

Jamie's mother Zoe Sutton said that on February 25, 2010, she collected her son from the creche. She brought him home before leaving him in the care of her boyfriend Mr O'Meara, who was not the boy's father.

She returned about 45 minutes later and on entering the house saw that Jamie had gone pale, his lips were white and his eyes were rolling in his head.

Jamie had fallen from his cot -- which was low off the ground -- on several occasions, she said. He had fallen down the full stairs five days previously, however, he seemed fine afterwards and was playing again within minutes.

Mr O'Meara said that while he had been looking after Jamie alone he heard a bang from upstairs. That's when he found Jamie lying on the floor, shivering, pale and having vomited, he said. The coroner's court heard Mr O'Meara took him on the trampoline after this.

The couple brought Jamie to Waterford Regional Hospital where Norma Goggin, consultant paediatrician, said that she did not believe that Jamie's injuries could have been caused by a fall from the cot.

Jamie's condition deteriorated and he was transferred to Temple Street Children's Hospital.

Consultant paediatric neurosurgeon Muhammad Sattar said that Jamie's injuries were acute and that he believed they must have been sustained in the hours before he was brought to hospital.

The injuries were extensive, he said, and were similar to those he would expect to result from a high-speed car crash or a fall from scaffolding. Jamie continued to deteriorate and he died on February 27.

Creche attendant Ann Tierney said that Jamie was a generally happy, well-dressed and clean child. She noted several occasions when Jamie had not attended creche because he was in hospital.

Midway through February, he had come into creche looking "almost disfigured" with the right side of his face swollen. This had been attributed to a fall from his cot by his mother, she said.

Deputy State Pathologist Khalid Jabbar carried out the post-mortem. Jamie had sustained traumatic cranial and inter-cranial injuries due to blunt force trauma to the head.

Dr Jabbar said there were two possible explanations for the injuries: a linear fracture sustained in the days prior to his presentation at hospital that had been exacerbated by the activity on the trampoline, or an acute injury sustained during the 40-minute period when his mother had been to the shops.

Irish Independent

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