A Northamptonshire family who woke to find their bright five-year-old boy had died in his sleep may never know his true cause of death, after an inquest returned an open-ended verdict.
Young Jack Beard of Oxfield Park Drive, Old Straftford had suffered from febrile convulsions, which means sudden rises in body temperature, from a very young age, but doctors had considered him to have grown out of the condition by the time he turned five.
I do not know or understand why this has happened to our son.
However, early on November 10, 2015, he did not wake up for school as he usually would.
When his mother, Sarah, checked the youngster, she found he had been sick and there was foam around his mouth. He was lying in a “funny position” and was not breathing.
She immediately dialled 999, but attempts by a neighbour to resuscitate the youngster were unsuccessful. When the ambulance crew arrived, they declared the boy dead.
At a County Hall inquest today, coroner Anne Pember could not give a definitive cause of death, after postmortem tests came back as inconclusive.
She said: “He was an appropriately cared for and much-loved five-year-old boy.
“He had a history of febrile convulsions and was admitted to hospital.
“The conclusion I insert is that he died of natural causes of unknown origin.”
Leicester Royal Infirmary-based pathologist, Nikola Ostojic carried out the postmortem on Jack.
Speaking at the inquest, he said there was a very small possibility the boy had suffered an epileptic seizure in the night, which in some cases can be triggered by “complex convulsions.”
But he said there was no conclusive proof as such seizures leave “no pathological trace.”
He said there was no sign of injury on the boy, no sign of a viral infection and no indication the child had an underlying health issue.
A statement from Sarah Beard was read out at the inquest, in which she described her son as “clever and bright with a great ability to remember detail.”
On the night before he died, Mrs Beard and husband James put Jack to bed as usual and did not notice anything unusual about his condition.
In her statement, she described the harrowing moment she realised her son had died the next morning.
“I didn’t know how to deal with the situation,” she said. “Time seemed to stand still.
“I do not know or understand why this has happened to our son.”