BABY TRAGEDY: Tot aged 15 days old found dead with traces of COCAINE in his system

Keep Reading ↓

He was tragically discovered lifeless in his crib by his mum just two weeks after being born

A 15-DAY-OLD baby found lifeless in his crib by his mum had traces of cocaine in his system when he died, an inquest has heard.

Daniel James Cunningham was discovered not breathing in his cot on November 16 last year and was pronounced dead at hospital within half an hour – just two weeks after being born.

An inquest heard this week that Daniel had traces of the class A drug in his blood when he died, but the coroner could not rule whether or not it led to his death, reports the Liverpool Echo.

The hearing was told that little Daniel was at home in Anfield with his mum Paige Purnell and dad Daniel John Cunningham the night before he died as the family was celebrating his birth on November 1.

Mum Paige was said to have checked on the young baby several times throughout the night, including at midnight, 2am, 4am and six hours later when she fed him.

But tragedy struck when at 2pm the mother found Daniel blue and lifeless in his bed. Despite the parents calling an ambulance at 2.07, the baby was declared dead at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital at 2.26pm.


Up until his early death it was said Daniel was healthy and had no pre-existing conditions.

Some bleeding shown in the post mortem examination was caused by a liver laceration was thought to have been a complication of CPR and had not contributed to his death.

Samples of blood detected a low concentration of cocaine in Daniel’s system – but the inquest was told this shouldn’t be interpreted as evidence of purposeful administration of cocaine, as it can be found in babies after they inhale it if parents or other carers use the drug.

Medics ruled out sudden infant death syndrome.

Coroner Anita Bhardwaj said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death.

She said: “Because of the toxicology results and because baby Daniel did have cocaine in his system we don’t know the impact that had on him and whether that’s played a central part in his death or not.

“Even though it was a small amount they cannot exclude the fact the cocaine may have played a part but at the same time they cannot say positively that it has played a part.

“That’s why the cause of death has been provided as unascertained.”

She added the pathologist did not know and could not tell if cocaine had played a role in his death, but it would not have happened during the CPR and was unlikely to have been in his system from his mother’s pregnancy as cocaine has a short half-life and doesn’t last in the human system for long.

She recorded a narrative verdict.

Neither of Daniel’s parents were present at the inquest on Thursday.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *