Poppi Worthington inquest hears mother’s frantic 999 call
The harrowing emergency call was played at the second inquest into the sudden death of the 13-month-old toddler.
The mother of Poppi Worthington frantically urged her dying daughter: “Come on baby, come on Poppi … keep going” as she spoke to a 999 call handler.
The harrowing emergency call was played at the second inquest into the sudden death of the 13-month-old toddler – who collapsed at her home in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, on December 12, 2012.
Poppi’s mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was heard desperately listening to the instructions of the operator and relaying them to the youngster’s father, Paul Worthington, 49, who attempted mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and chest compressions.
She made the call at just before 6am after Mr Worthington had carried lifeless Poppi downstairs, the hearing at County Hall, Kendal, was told.
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.”
Paramedics are then heard arriving in the background at the end of the call which lasted up to 10 minutes.
More than a hour later, Poppi was pronounced dead at Furness General Hospital.
Earlier at the inquest, Poppi’s mother was frequently visibly distressed as she gave evidence and asked not to be present when the 999 call was played in court.
The second inquest 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 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.
The mother told the court she had an “up and down” relationship with Mr Worthington, who she had met in about 2009.
Poppi was born at almost full term, weighed five-and-a-half pounds and was generally a healthy baby who had just started walking, she told the court.
Asked about her personality, she said: “Very alive, bubbly. You knew she was there, there was no missing her.”
On the early evening of December 11, she said she placed Poppi in her cot in one of the home’s three bedrooms as later other siblings at the address went to sleep.
Mr Worthington followed upstairs, she said, but she eventually slept downstairs on the sofa as one of her other children awoke and she settled him in a pushchair.
She fought back tears as she recalled the last time she checked on Poppi, who was fast asleep, snoring, with her pink elephant pillow.
She later awoke when she heard Poppi cry out and described it as “more of a scream”.
The mother then said she heard Mr Worthington get up so she went back to sleep before he came downstairs for a nappy.
She fell asleep again before Mr Worthington came downstairs with Poppi again to tell her their daughter was not breathing.