Coroner slams 'waste' of over £1m of taxpayers' money investigating tragic death of baby who starved in his pramBy Daily Mail Reporter
The unnamed baby boy starved to death despite being under the care of doctors, social workers and health visitors
Westminster coroner Dr Paul Knapman reluctantly adjourned the inquest after it was revealed that the baby's father had not seen key documents in the case.
Dr Knapman spoke of the vast amounts of public money that had already been spent on the case, suggesting the combined cost could total over £1 million.
'Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money has been wasted in this tragic story,' he said.
'Reference has been made to the hundreds and hundreds of people, almost entirely in the public services, who have been involved.
'I had hoped to hear the tragic case today and conclude the matter. However having heard from counsel representing the father and bearing in mind the High Court's present view upon these issues, with no enthusiasm whatsoever, I agree to an adjournment.'
Dr Knapman said the money spent on the case included the payment of legal aid for the mother who entered the UK illegally in 2005.
There was also the cost of housing, health, social and police services as well as the translation services required to communicate with her as she did not speak English.
Metropolitan Police Detective Inspector Paul Clack stated it had taken 'many months' to compile the 41 statements made by police into the report.
The body of the baby boy was found emaciated in his family flat in north-west London on March 8 last year.
His 29-year-old mother died from illness and HIV two days later on March 10, the court heard.
Mr Clack described how the baby was found in filthy conditions after his mother had called the London Ambulance Service stating there was an 11-month-old child having difficulty breathing.
A report read by Mr Clack described the bedroom where the baby was found as 'untidy and dirty' and 'looked like someone had emptied a bin liner over the floor'.
A plate with the remains of crisps and cereal was found in the baby's cot.
The mother was arrested on suspicion of child neglect but after being seen by a doctor, was taken to a west London hospital where she died two days later.
Professor Anthony Risdon, the paediatric forensic pathologist who conducted the post-mortem on the baby, told the inquest the infant was 'significantly underweight' and had had 'nothing to drink for a couple of days at least'.
Prof Risdon concluded the child had died from starvation with the baby's sodium levels revealing severe dehydration.
Concerns had been raised over the mother's ability to care for herself and her child, and she had told Westminster City Council workers she could 'hear men's voices'.
After moving into a flat in north-west London in February 2010, the mother was in regular contact with council health and social workers.
A week before the baby died, a physiotherapist from a west London hospital and an interpreter visited the family at their flat, the court heard.
In a report, the physiotherapist described the mother as 'low in mood and not interested in the assessment process' and observed the baby as being 'unsettled'.
The physiotherapist made an arrangement to see the mother and baby on March 4 but was concerned when the pair did not turn up.
Mr Clack told the inquest the mother entered the UK illegally in August 2005 and despite several failed asylum applications, she was granted Leave Outside of the Rules (LOTR) in 2009.
She lived in Birmingham where she gave birth to the baby boy but moved to London in September 2009, Mr Clack said.
The mother alleged she had left Birmingham because of domestic violence, phone harassment and threats from the the baby's father.
Dr Knapman said the inquest would be reviewed in a month.
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