A DESPERATE bid to save the life of a devoted Hampshire mother and her unborn baby ended in tragedy after she collapsed at home.

Anne Motteram was just weeks away from giving birth to her seventh child James when she suffered a sudden heart attack while in bed at her Southampton home.

The shocking discovery was not made until her two-year-old daughter Catherine went in to see her mum the next morning and starting crying when the 40-yearold, who was seven months pregnant, did not wake up.

Her husband Mark, woken by the screams, began a desperate and frantic bid to keep his wife and her unborn son alive, trying to resuscitate her as paramedics rushed to her home in Iris Road, Bassett.

The mum-of-six never woke up but doctors fought on to save baby James, performing an emergency Caesarean as the pair arrived at Southampton General Hospital on the morning of February 26.

After the birth, Anne was pronounced dead but her premature son fought on for seven days until he died in the arms of his dad Steve Cook as a result of being deprived of oxygen in the womb when his mum collapsed.

Yesterday at their inquest her family paid tribute to the “caring” and “wonderful”

mum, who devoted her life to her children and to their little fighter who held on to give his dad a cuddle.

Mum Jean Motteram said: “She was more than a daughter, she was a friend and a confidante. She was wonderful, if not a bit scatty.

“Her children meant the world to her. It was all about them for her.

We are all devastated and she will be so sadly missed.

“The day before she died we were on the phone because we were due to go out the next day and she said that she was cold.

I told her to have a hot drink, have a nice hot bath, take an early night and that I would speak to her in the morning. But we never got that chance.”

The drama unfolded just before 7am on February 26, when toddler Catherine went in to see her mum and found her collapsed on the bed.

Southampton Coroner’s Court heard that the postmortem examination revealed that one of her main arteries in her heart was blocked, causing part of her heart muscle to die and resulting in a heart attack.

It is not known how long she had been lying there before she was found, but pathologist Sam Holden said that it was unlikely that she could have been saved.

After James was born he was rushed to the neonatal ward, where scans of his brain revealed he had suffered significant brain damage due to oxygen deprivation and if he was going to survive, his dad was warned he would be severely disabled.

After six days, with his family all holding him, he was taken off his life-support machine and despite the odds he fought on.

But tragically the next day, March 5, as his dad held him in his arms, he took his last breath and passed away.

This was not the first time the family had faced tragedy.

Four years ago Anne and Steve lost a daughter, Billie, who was stillborn. Billie and James have been buried together.

Steve, Anne’s partner of five years, said: “He clung on for a day and we thought he would pull through. Every day he got a little bit more animated but in the end he had fought hard enough and he took his last breath in my arms.”

He added: “Anne was my sweetheart and her kids were everything to her.”

Anne had six children aged from 24 to two-year-old Catherine and two granddaughters.

She had been separated from husband Mark five years ago but the pair r e m a i n e d friends and he was lodging at the house on the night she collapsed.

Anne’s daughter Amy, 22, said: “James wanted to be with his mum. She was waiting at the pearly gates for him.

“She was a great mum. I’ll remember her as loud and the fact she was always there for me.”

Anne’s younger sister, Kerry Wiltshire, said: “She was the heart and soul and if two people had fallen out she would sort them out and get them talking again. I don’t know what we will do without her.”

Coroner Keith Wiseman recorded a verdict of death by natural causes for both Anne and James.