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Parents criticised for death of Blake Fowler
A CORONER has criticised the parents of a young boy who died after falling from a sofa.
Southampton coroner Keith Wiseman said there were "considerable uncertainties" in the accounts of those who were with seven-year-old Blake Fowler at the time he died.
An inquest heard how Blake Fowler was in the care of his mother's partner Peter Meek and Peter's brother Philip Meek when he died on December 3, 2011.
Southampton Coroner's Court heard how Blake was at the home of Peter Meek's grandparents in Cromarty Road, Lordshill, Southampton, when he was fatally injured.
The court heard that at the time of the incident Peter Meek was on bail for assaulting Sarah two months earlier.
Under the terms of his bail he was not allowed to have any contact with his partner but despite that the family had moved into Cromarty Road in secret, the court was told.
Giving evidence Detective Inspector Linda Howard, who led the investigation into Blake's death, said the account given by Peter Meek was that Blake was play fighting in the lounge using boxing gloves while he was in the kitchen.
Blake's step-father, Peter Meek, told police how he heard a loud bang and when he saw Blake, the youngster told him he had been pushed off the sofa.
Shortly after that Blake became dizzy and started to lose consciousness, the officer explained.
Evidence given later during the inquest heard that instead of calling an ambulance immediately up to five minutes was lost while Peter Meek made a call to Sarah with some suggestion that he didn't want one to be called at all.
He also tried to lie about who he was to paramedics which further hampered efforts to treat Blake.
Commenting on that Keith Wiseman said: "The obvious concern was that he was likely to be re-arrested for breaching his bail conditions."
He described it as “a disgraceful failure to prioritise the needs of Blake”.
Evidence was also taken from pathologist Basil Purdue who said that the delay would not have affected Blake's death due to the nature of the injuries already sustained.
He said that the injuries were consistent from a fall from a sofa and due to the lack of any obvious head injury to accompany the brain haemorrhage, it was difficult to be sure what exactly had caused it.
He said there were no other injuries that suggested he had been restrained or attacked in any way.
However, he did add that a forensic examination of the schoolboy revealed he had flakes of a white material which were identified as ceiling Artex in his hair and on his lip. He added that there was no explanation about how they got there.
Blake was eventually taken to hospital but never recovered from his injuries and died the next day.
Both Peter and Philip Meek were arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm.
Following the police investigation and after discussion with the Crown Prosecution Service it was decided to release the pair without charge.
Peter Meek was not at this morning's hearing but Blake's mother Sarah sat through the proceedings flanked by family members and occasionally wiping tears from her eyes.
In summarising evidence Mr Wiseman said he had taken into account the findings from a High Court hearing regarding care proceedings for Blake's siblings, which examined the circumstances of the youngster's death.
During that case the evidence had uncovered a "plethora of lies" told by adults involved in Blake's care and as a result Mr Wiseman it was difficult to know with any certainty how exactly Blake had died.
He described how the evidence given to the high court had demonstrated parenting skills of the pair as "woeful", adding:"There was an inadequate and irresponsible way in which they (the children) were cared for and treated."
As previously reported by the Daily Echo serious case review has now been launched by the Local Safeguarding Children's Board to examine the role the authorities played in events leading up to Blake's death."