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The parents of a one month old baby who died after being found wedged between a bed and a wall say they don’t know how his death happened.  The couple do admit to being on a 24 hour drinking binge with pals, but unable to recall what happened to their baby or how he died.

Initially arrested and charged with neglect and manslaughter, baby Freddie Neil’s parents, Matthew Neil and Kim Smart-Neil have now been told they will not be prosecuted over their baby’s death.

The circumstances surrounding the death of baby Freddie have been revealed in detail for the first time following a serious case review by the Blackpool Safeguarding Children Board.

The report confirms that both parents had spent the 24 hours before their son’s death consuming ‘a large quantity of alcohol’ in a pub before continuing to consume more at home with friends.

The couple were woken by their two-year old son Alex at noon the following day, but his father, Matthew couldn’t find baby Freddie in the home.  The missing baby was later found on the floor between a wall and bed in his brother’s room – but neither parent could tell investigators how he got there.

 

In a recent interview with the Gazette, the father Matthew, said he disputed several of the report’s findings.  He stated that he moved baby Freddie from a Moses basket while in an epilepsy-triggered fugue state, in which he said he experiences blackouts and will suddenly wake up elsewhere suffering from amnesia.

“Only a couple of months ago I was at home on my own and I had a fit,” he said.  “I woke up at the end of North Pier. I had left my house and walked all the way down the Prom.  I do think my epilepsy was a massive factor in that horrible morning. It’s hypothetical because I can’t prove it.”

The report states that the mother, Kim, went to bed in the early hours of December 26, 2014.  Matthew stayed up with baby Freddie until around 6am, at which time their friends left their home.

“It is unclear what happened next but [Mrs Smart-Neil] recalls attending to [Alex] at 4am and feeding [Freddie] at around 5am,” the report said. “It is not known where [Freddie] was placed to sleep after his final feed or by which parent.”

The inquest into baby Freddie’s death was held in Blackpool in December last year.  Coroner Alan Wilson recorded an open-ended verdict in the case, as it was felt it was impossible to say what exactly caused his death.

A spokeswoman for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said a charge of wilful neglect was considered but dropped due to a lack of evidence.

Speaking to The Gazette, Mr Neil denied being drunk and said he remembered putting Freddie to bed in his Moses basket, although he admitted he doesn’t know how he ended up in a different room.

He said:

“It was Christmas and we both had more than we should’ve, but neither of us was inebriated. I believe I had a fit. There’s no way a four-week-old baby can make it from our room into Alex’s room on his own. It’s a sheer impossibility.  One of us had to have moved him but when I have a fit I can’t remember half an hour before or after.  I can’t remember taking him in there, so that’s the most viable explanation. It’s the most sensible one.”

The report also found there was nothing authorities involved with the family could have done to prevent the baby’s death, despite the father being an ‘admitted alcoholic’.  

Saying that he felt like an outcast after his initial arrest, Matthew said he has now beaten his addiction.

“The first six months I could tell people were staying away from me,” he said.  “They did not know what to say to me. I just wanted to say to them, ‘I did not do anything.’  I’m just a normal person now. I will have a social drink. I have a pint or glass of wine with a meal. I don’t have a single drop of alcohol in the house at all.  I would quite happily stand up and say to people that, if you are in charge of children, I do think alcohol should not be drunk.”

In response to the report, a spokesman for child protection charity NSPCC said: “Children who parents have alcohol problems can often be at most risk of harm, as this tragic case starkly illustrates.

“It’s crucial for these parents to seek help and support to develop healthy and secure relationships with their children.”


Image source: Twitter 

  • This is just terribly sad. What on earth were they both doing drinking heavily with a beautiful little bub so tiny that needed them. Not on, they don’t deserve to be parents.

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  • This is just terrible. I feel sick reading it

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  • This disgust me!! I can only imagine how upset that poor bubba would of been in the hours leading up to his death. The father is too busy telling everyone that he ‘didn’t do it’ or blaming his epilepsy instead of taking responsibility as a father and adult for his actions. Just heart breaking, they don’t deserve to be parents!

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  • This story disgusts and stuns me! The baby was found on the floor! The father is an alcoholic yet he was drinking and claimed to not be drunk. It’s been proven alcoholics cannot have a single drop of alcohol after they quit because they cannot stop. Neither parent remembers who last handled the baby. Neither of them should have been drinking with a tiny baby and a toddler in the house! Or at least one of them should have refrained. I cannot believe no charges have been laid. That poor sweet little baby, God knows what he suffered. RIP little man

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  • It was stupid of them to drink so much when they have children especially a baby but at the same time it was a tragic accident. I can tell by the photos how well cared for both their children were. Alcohol is an addiction. They never hurt their child on purpose and I really do feel for them and their loss. I hope they can move on and not blame themselves.

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  • *sigh* If you are in charge of young children then I dont understand why you would drink so much that you cant remember things.
    My husband was a drinker so when we had children i refused to drink at all as i knew that someone had to be sober incase one of our children needed a parent that could drive, take them to the hospital or any other number of incidents. Im glad I did that,

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  • Um, there are so many things wrong with this situation. That poor baby. What a terrible situation. And the sibling. I hope he is being well cared for. Both parents obviously have to live with what they could or couldn’t have done to prevent this terrible, nonsensical tragedy.

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  • A very sad story indeed. Poor baby, sibling and all those involved.

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  • How awful. Poor little baby, and so awful for the toddler as well.

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  • This makes me incredibly sad. This baby died because of incompetence, to me whilst there are known issues of the father having epilepsy neither parent should be drinking because they already have the issues of his fitting to deal with. I think it makes it extra hard for me at the moment because I have a 4 day old baby girl & I am emotional.

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  • A very sad case. So sorry for the loss of a beautiful baby boy.

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  • If the Dad is on medication for his epilepsy he should not be consuming any alcohol at all. Heavy alcohol can actually effect your brain function and cause seizures even if you aren’t epileptic previously. Alcohol damages your liver if drunk in excess too, sometimes kidneys also. It is a high possibility that the elder child is in danger too.

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  • This is shocking. Poor defenceless baby. I’m truely saddened.

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  • So tragic..RIP sweet little Freddie.

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  • What a tragic story. I hope these parents and many others can learn from this story.

    Reply

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