Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Boy died after choking on sausage at Butlin’s, inquest told

James Manning died in hospital two weeks after the incident at Butlin’s in Bognor Regis.

James Manning died at Southampton General Hospital (Family handout/PA)
James Manning died at Southampton General Hospital (Family handout/PA)

By Michael Drummond, PA South East Correspondent

A mother whose two-year-old son died after choking on a piece of sausage at a Butlin’s holiday park broke down in tears on Monday as she recalled her desperate efforts to save him.

James Manning had been enjoying a trip to the seaside resort with his mother and grandmother when tragedy struck on June 6, 2018.

Speaking at the inquest into his death, Natalie Reeves said “it seemed like everybody was just standing around”, while two holidaymakers gave CPR to James.

James’ grandmother told assistant coroner Karen Harrold that Butlin’s staff did not assist with James as he was choking outside the resort’s Ocean Drive Restaurant, a claim Butlin’s does not accept.

Just days before the incident, Miss Reeves had called to ask about James’ place on a hospital waiting list, and told a hospital secretary “if you do not do something for my son something bad is going to happen”.

James died on June 20, 2018 at Southampton General Hospital, two weeks after the incident at Butlin’s in Bognor Regis, West Sussex.

An inquest into his death began on Monday at Centenary House in Crawley.

Miss Reeves described James as “a very clever boy” who “loved helping out, getting involved”.

bpanews_44e31bf5-50d4-4096-bc33-32014f6edeab_embedded249400689
James Manning’s mother Natalie Reeves (left) and grandmother Angela Knight (Michael Drummond/PA)

She said: “If he had his dinner and maybe I had something different, he would reach for my dinner instead. If he saw my Yorkshire pudding he would have a bite or two and chuck it back over to my plate.”

Miss Reeves said James had a history of choking issues and breathing difficulties, including one incident where he choked on a piece of popcorn chicken while eating lunch with his family.

James had turned blue and lost consciousness while waiting for the ambulance, but paramedics were able to revive him and he recovered.

His grandmother, Angela Knight, said James was “full of energy” during the first two days of their trip to Butlin’s holiday resort.

“He was doing extremely well, no problems at all. He was just in his element enjoying the holiday.

“He was loving it, he was living in the arcades on the 2p machines.”

But on the third day of the trip, June 6, 2018, James started choking while eating sausage, the inquest heard.

Miss Reeves said: “He must have had a piece that we hadn’t cut up small enough yet.

He was doing extremely well, no problems at all. He was just in his element enjoying the holiday Angela Knight

“At that point I said to mum, I think he’s choking, but I didn’t honestly know how big it was.”

She told the coroner that she rushed James out of the restaurant, laid him across her knees face down and started hitting him on the back, and performing the Heimlich manoeuvre to try to clear his airway.

Ms Knight, who was also present, said two women she thought were holidaymakers told her they were first aid trained and offered to help.

Another man also hit James on the back to try to stop him choking, the inquest was told.

Paramedics eventually arrived and James was taken to Southampton General Hospital.

Asked if she was aware of any Butlin’s staff being around to help, Ms Knight said some were present but “there weren’t any Butlin’s staff who helped with James”.

Chris Green, representing Butlin’s at the inquest, suggested that in fact six members of staff had been present, including two first aiders.

Ms Knight replied: “They may have been present, but they did not assist with James.”

Mr Green said this was not accepted by Butlin’s and a staff member would give evidence at the inquest in due course.

A post mortem examination found that the cause of James’ death was hypoxic ischemic brain injury, a lack of oxygen to the brain.

Consultant paediatric pathologist Samantha Holden, who carried out the postmortem, said this brain injury was caused by a previous cardiac arrest following choking.

The inquest continues.

PA

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph