AN EIGHTEEN-MONTH-OLD baby drowned in a hot tub after crawling outside while his mum worked from home during lockdown, an inquest heard.
Little Eddie Murphy-Boxall was found unresponsive in the water by horrified mum Siobhan Murphy at their home in Worthing, West Sussex on June 24.
A coroner said a combination of the hot tub lid being open and the difficulties of caring for children while working from home had led to the "truly heartbreaking situation."
Dr Karen Henderson, the assistant coroner for West Sussex, who concluded the case was an accident while sitting at Crawley Coroner's Court, said: "It is by far, every parent's worst nightmare."
The inquest heard how little Eddie was one of twins who had been born shortly before Christmas on December 17, 2018 and were the treasured children of Simon Boxall and mother Siobhan, who lived on Central Avenue in Worthing.
Mel Doyle, the coroner's officer for Crawley, said: "When the the national lockdown was enforced due to Covid in March, Siobhan started working from home.
“Simon returned to work on May 4, leaving Siobhan home-working and looking after the boys alone.”
'PARENT'S WORST NIGHTMARE'
Mrs Murphy had often worked at night after her children had gone to bed, to fit in her work and child-caring responsibilities, the inquest heard.
On June 24, it was an “extremely hot” day when the mum had two hours of conference calls booked, which she was due to take downstairs.
She had left the back door open to circulate air and her boys were in the downstairs bedroom, the coroner was told.
Ms Doyle said: "When Siobhan finished her work meeting, she called the boys. Eddie did not come out of the bedroom.
“Siobhan realised the backdoor was open and Eddie must have crawled outside.
“She saw the lid of the hot tub was open. She went to the hot tub and found Eddie in the water, unresponsive.”
Rather she said the report found “there were no concerns of negligence or any risks in terms of the state of the house or the facilities, everything pointed to a loving family that had been left heartbroken and bereft by their loss.”
Concluding the inquest, Dr Henderson said on the balance of probabilities she was satisfied that Eddie's death was a “tragic accident”.
The coroner added: “It is quite clearly a truly heartbreaking situation that Eddie, with his brother, was the most wanted child who had throughout his short life been beautifully cared for and was the most treasured possession.
“He was all things for their parents.”
Dr Henderson said that a “combination” of circumstances had led to Eddie’s death, including the fact that the hot tub lid was not closed and the difficulties of combining working from home with childcare.
She continued: “I cannot for a minute imagine how difficult this has been for Eddie's parents and for other family and I am so sorry.”
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