Age: 2 months
Date: 14 Oct 1954
Stuart Anthony Bryan died in his cot at his home from asphyxiation on 14 October 1954.
An open verdict was returned.
The inquest on the child heard evidence stating that the child's mother had suggested to a friend that another 3-year-old child had fallen on Stuart Bryan and caused his death.
The post mortem showed that the child had died from asphyxiation. However, the inquest heard that there was no evidence to show how the child had been asphyxiated.
Stuart Bryan died at his home the day after he was discharged from Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
His mother said that she had three other children and that another two children that she had had had died from bronchitis and pneumonia respectively.
She said that Stuart Bryan had been admitted to Blackpool Victoria Hospital on 3 October 1954 with bronchitis.
She said that after the child's return on 13 October 1954 that she woke up the following morning to find that Stuart Bryan looked ill and would not feed from his bottle. She said that she then sent one of her other children off to get a relative and that whilst she was waiting for the other relative to arrive she asked her three-year-old daughter if she had touched Stuart Bryan as she often made a fuss of him. She said that her three-year-old daughter later told her that she had been 'acrobating' and had touched the foot of Stuart Bryan's cot which had caused it to bang against the cupboard door.
When the Coroner asked Stuart Bryan's mother whether she had told a neighbour that her three-year-old daughter had killed Stuart Bryan, she said, 'I said something to that effect', adding that she thought that her three-year-old daughter had fallen on the cot from her bed and that Stuart Bryan had perhaps died from shock.
Stuart Bryan's father said that in his opinion it was not possible for the three-year-old daughter to have fallen on to the baby, stating that she would have had to have climbed over him first and that he would have woken up.
The doctor that was called out said that when he arrived Stuart Bryan was dead and that his mother told him that the three-year-old daughter had fallen on the cot.
However, the pathologist said that Stuart Bryan's cause of death was asphyxia and that there was no internal obstructions to Stuart Bryan's airways and that his asphyxia must have been caused externally. He added that there were no signs of bruising or violence. The pathologist said, in agreement with the Coroner, that if the three-year-old girl had fallen on Stuart Bryan, suffocating him, that Stuart Bryan would not have lived for three-quarters of an hour afterwards.
When the Coroner summed up he said that he was not satisfied that the three-year-old girl had fallen into the cot and suffocated Stuart Bryan. He said, 'This inquiry leaves me with no information as to what caused this baby's death'.
see Lancashire Evening Post - Saturday 20 November 1954