Inquest into death of Poppi, 13 months, hears mother's emergency call

A frantic plea from the mother of Poppi Worthington for her dying daughter to show signs of life was heard in a harrowing 999 call played on the first day of the fresh inquest into the youngster's death.

Poppi's mother desperately listened to the instructions of the emergency call handler after the 13-month-old suddenly went into cardiac arrest at the family home in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.

She passed on the directions to then partner, Paul Worthington, 49, who attempted mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and chest compressions just moments after he carried Poppi's lifeless body downstairs, shouting that she was not breathing.

The second inquest at County Hall, Kendal, was ordered after the controversial first hearing, held by a different coroner, was shrouded in secrecy and lasted just seven minutes.

Poppi was listed as "a child aged 13 months" at the first inquest in 2014 as now retired coroner Ian Smith decided he was satisfied to rely on the findings of a private family court judgment and declared her death in the early hours of December 12 2012 as unexplained.

Mr Worthington has been in hiding since January 2016 when family court judge Mr Justice Peter Jackson, now Lord Justice Peter Jackson, made public his conclusion that he probably sexually assaulted his daughter before her collapse.

He said Poppi's "significant bleeding" within 15 minutes of the 999 call made from the family home could only be sensibly explained as the result of penetrative trauma.

Mr Worthington, who is to give evidence to the inquest later this week, has never been charged with a criminal offence and denies responsibility.

Poppi's mother, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, asked to leave the courtroom before the 999 call, lasting up to 10 minutes, was played.

She told the operator: "Ambulance please. My baby's not breathing, she gone blue.

"Erm, she's not been well, on and off, last few days. She's not breathing. She's not breathing. She's blue."

The call handler responds: "Can you just try to be calm?" before giving instructions to Poppi's mother to lay the child flat on her back, check that her airways are clear, tilt her head back and then begin CPR.

The mother tells her partner: "Oh my God. Two breaths, 30 pumps. Keep going! Keep going until the ambulance arrives.

"Come on Poppi. Come on baby. Oh f****** hell.

"I think she just breathed! Oh! Oh come on. Oh my God come on Poppi.

"Come on keep going. Come on. Come on baby.

"Come on ambulance please. Please come on.

"What's wrong with her, Paul? She's not breathing."

More than a hour later at 7.07am, Poppi was pronounced dead at Furness General Hospital, just a day after the toddler had taken her first two steps of walking.

Earlier at the inquest, Poppi's mother was frequently visibly distressed as she gave evidence.

She told the court she had an "up and down" relationship with Mr Worthington, who she had met in about 2009.

Asked about her daughter's personality, she said: "Very alive, bubbly.

"You knew she was there, there was no missing her."

In her first account of the events, she told a police officer on December 12 that she had no idea or explanation as to what happened to her daughter and had not seen any blood around her at the time.

She stated to police that she loved Mr Worthington who was a "brilliant dad" and there was "no way" he could have harmed Poppi.

She confirmed to her barrister, Gillian Irving QC, when asked on Monday, that she was not aware at that time of the allegation that Poppi had been sexually abused before her death.

The hearing, which is scheduled to last up to four weeks, continues on Tuesday.

HM senior coroner for Cumbria, David Roberts, is expected to adjourn the proceedings over Christmas and new year before he gives his formal conclusions on January 15.

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