Baby Charlie was safely delivered after surviving the fall that sadly killed his mother.

New Zealand woman Sally Anne Chappel, 40, was 34 weeks pregnant with her first child when she fell down some stairs at her Takapuna home, sustaining devastating head injuries.

She was rushed to Auckland Hospital, where doctors performed an emergency c-section, successfully delivering baby Charlie, who was healthy despite being six weeks premature.

But sadly, the same could not be said for Sally. After a promising start, her condition began to deteriorate and two weeks after the accident, she suffered a catastrophic brain bleed and passed away.

Sally’s mother Joyce told the Sunday Star Times the family was devastated, but that baby Charlie had helped ease their suffering.

“At the end of the day we had to decide one way or the other,” Joyce said. “She would have always been severely brain damaged even if she had survived. Tragedy, tragedy. We’ve still got Charlie at the least.”

charlie baby

Sally was a successful web designer and graphic artist, as well as being an accomplished artist and writer.

Mum Joyce said she was a talented artist. “She had a lovely disposition” and was always making people laugh.

“Some of her artwork as a child was out of this world. She had a way of portraying things, she was very creative with words and art. Everybody liked her, she was a really nice girl.”

Our thoughts are with the family and little baby Charlie.

Share your comments below.

Images via Sunday Star Times

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  • How heartbreaking for poor Joyce losing her daughter.
    Little Charlie would be an ease on her pain but it is extremely upsetting that he will never know his Mummy.
    Rest In Peace brave woman, forever watching over the baby boy you never even got to hold :(


  • Poor baby to never know his mum.


  • This is a heartbreaking story. Poor little Charlie being left without a mum. I hope there are lots of supportive family around to take care of him. There is no mention of a father / partner in the story…?


  • How terrible and tragic for something which I am sure every one has done – fall down the stairs. Poor lady she must have hit concrete or marble. I hope that the family manage to come to terms with it all. My thoughts are with them.


  • So sad and tragic. There is far too many accidents as a result of using stairs.
    After a brain bleed patients often only gain consciousness opn eand off, or only partial consciousness. I know a lady who collapsed due to a cerebal haemorrage. Several months later she opens her eyes and seems to hear them but can’t conmmunicate other than yes or no with her eyes, and can move the fingers on one hand occasionally. She has no quality of life. Seh ad a couple of operations in the early stages. One had to be delayed becuase she developed Pnuemonia.


  • Poor little Charlie had such a sad start to life, its wonderful he survived. I am sure his family will tell him all about his mother.


  • Poor woman! She was so beautiful! What a sad way for Charlie to enter into this world.


  • So sad :( No mention of the father. I hope baby Charlie will grow up hearing all about how wonderful his mummy was.
    RIP Sally x


  • RIP :(


  • What an incredibly sad situation. Condolences to her family and friends. May memories of her life live on in their hearts and minds.


  • That’s awful :(


  • Lke ue


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