A mum-of-four found her baby son unresponsive after she left him sleeping on her bed, an inquest heard.
Five-month-old Beni Lupu was asleep on a double bed when his mum, Marianne Lupu, left the bedroom to go downstairs with one of her other children.
An inquest hearing at Rochdale Coroner’s Court heard that around two hours later, she returned to her bedroom to find her son unresponsive and his mouth ‘blue.’
Paramedics were called to the property in Glodwick, Oldham, and Beni was transferred to Royal Oldham Hospital where medical professionals attempted to resuscitate him.
He was tragically pronounced dead a short time later.
The court heard that prior to his death, Beni had been a ‘happy’ and ‘healthy’ baby, and had attended regular medical check-up appointments with his dad, Jheorghe Lupu.
Mr Lupu arrived in Oldham from Romania for work in 2018, before his wife and young family came to join him a few months later.
The hearing was told that Beni’s parents had recently been referred to the help of local social services, after one of his elder siblings was seriously injured having fallen down the stairs.
On the evening prior to his death, the court heard that Beni had been sharing a double bed with his mum and sibling.
Mr Lupu had been asleep on the floor with the couple’s other two children, having finished a night shift.
Beni awoke around 12am for a feed, and then again at 2am, before being placed on his back and being given a pillow, the court heard.
Detective Inspector Kenny Blain, described the house as being in a ‘poor state’ when officers from GMP visited the property, following Beni’s death on June 13 last year.
“The property was cockroach infested and there were rodent pellets on the floor,” he told the inquest hearing.
The inquest heard Mr Lupu had reported this to his landlord, but the issue was still unresolved at the time of Beni’s death.
DI Blain said he believed the sleeping arrangements were ‘unsuitable’ and ‘unnecessary’ as he noted there was another bedroom with a spare double bed available.
“One of the bedrooms had a mosses basket which was covered in miscellaneous items,” he said.
“The bed that Beni was sleeping on was full of fleeces and blankets. There was a cot which was reportedly broken but it appeared to be functional.
“The property was extremely warm and the radiators were turned up high.
“There were cigarette butts in the toilet and the back bedroom. There was no evidence of smoking in the main bedroom.”
DI Blain added that although the sleeping arrangements were not suitable for four young children, there were no signs that Beni had been ‘physically neglected.’
No criminal charges were brought against Beni’s parents, and the family are understood to have returned to Romania.
Paediatric Pathologist, Dr Gemma Petts, told the court that despite extensive tests, she was unable to ascertain the cause of Beni’s sudden death.
Dr Petts said that on examination, Beni had no external injuries, and toxicology results showed no drugs or alcohol in his system at the time of his death.
The tot had a number of viral infections at the time, but none of these were deemed to have contributed to his death, Dr Petts said.
She told the court that Beni’s death could be attributed to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), but added that she could not be sure what caused him to pass away.
“Unsafe sleeping is very often seen in children who die suddenly,” Dr Petts said.
“At 20 weeks, he would have been at risk of getting in a position where he couldn’t get himself out.
“Another risk factor is a household where smoking occurs.”
A statement read to the court from Dr Simon Walton, a GP at Glodwick Primary Care Centre, outlined Beni’s short medical history.
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He was seen in the first few month’s of his life after displaying symptoms of jitteriness and head lag, and was said to have low vitamin D and calcium levels.
The inquest was told that on March 19, 2020, Beni underwent a child protection assessment at Royal Oldham Hospital at the request of social services.
His parents had been referred to local services after one of their other children was admitted to intensive care, having fallen down the stairs at home.
A number of unexplained injuries were noted which were not consistent with a fall, the court heard.
Following the assessment in March, Beni was allowed to go home with his parents, with no follow up appointment deemed necessary.
The inquest continues.