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Baby drowned in hot tub while mother was working from home, inquest hears

An 18-month-old baby drowned in a hot tub after crawling outside while his mother was working from home during lockdown, an inquest heard.

Eddie Murphy-Boxall fell into the water while his mother, Siobhan Murphy, was taking conference calls remotely at their home in Worthing, West Sussex, on June 24.

Ms Murphy had left the garden door open to let some cool air into the house on the “extremely hot” day.

She thought Eddie and his twin brother were safe together in a downstairs bedroom, but Eddie crawled into the garden and fell into the hot tub.

Dr Karen Henderson, assistant coroner for West Sussex, concluded at his inquest that the “truly heartbreaking” death was accidental.

Sitting at Crawley Coroner’s Court, she said: “It is by far, every parent’s worst nightmare.”

Ms Murphy had been taking care of the twins alone after her partner, Simon Boxall, returned to work running a construction firm.

After finishing her two-hour conference call, Ms Murphy called the boys but Eddie did not come out of the bedroom, the inquest heard.

She discovered him motionless in the hot tub.

Eddie was airlifted to Worthing General Hospital but medics were unable to save him.

The coroner added: “It is quite clearly a truly heartbreaking situation that Eddie, with his brother, was the most wanted child who had throughout his short life been beautifully cared for and was the most treasured possession. He was all things for their parents.

“It is by far every parents worst nightmare but it was through a combination of circumstances that sadly led to Eddie’s death – that the hot tub lid was not closed as was thought, that they were working from home during Covid and the difficulties of combining that with childcare and indeed it was a very hot day – that this allowed, sadly, Eddie to slip out and to climb into the hot tub.

“I cannot for a minute imagine how difficult this has been for Eddie’s parents and for other family and I am so sorry.”

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