Toddler twin drowned in hot tub after crawling outside home
An 18-month-old toddler twin drowned in a hot tub after crawling outside home when his mother left the back door open on a hot day as she worked from home during the COVID-19 lockdown.
The toddler, Eddie Murphy-Boxall, was found unresponsive in the water by his mother, Siobhan Murphy, who had opened the back door of the home to let in some cool air in Worthing, West Sussex on June 24.
The boy was declared dead at Worthing General Hospital after being taken by an air ambulance.
A coroner said that a combination of the hot tub lid being open and the difficulties of caring for children while working from home had led to the ‘truly heartbreaking situation.’
The assistant coroner for West Sussex, Dr Karen Henderson, concluded the case was an accident while sitting at Crawley Coroner’s Court, adding: ‘It is by far, every parent’s worst nightmare.’
Little Eddie was born shortly before Christmas in 2018 and lived in Worthing with his father Simon Boxall, Ms Murphy and his twin brother Hugo, the inquest heard.
Mel Doyle, the coroner’s officer for Crawley, said: ‘When the national lockdown was enforced due to Covid in March, Siobhan started working from home. Simon returned to work on May 4, leaving Siobhan home-working and looking after the boys alone.’
Mrs Murphy had often worked at night, after her children had gone to bed, to fit in her work and child-caring responsibilities during the Covid-19 pandemic, the inquest heard.
The day of the tragedy was ‘extremely hot’ and the mother had two hours of conference calls to attend, it was said. She was due to take the calls downstairs, with the back door left open to circulate air and the boys in the downstairs bedroom, the coroner was told.
Ms Doyle said: ‘When Siobhan finished her work meeting, she called the boys… Eddie did not come out of the bedroom. Siobhan realised the backdoor was open and Eddie must have crawled outside. She saw the lid of the hot tub was open. She went to the hot tub and found Eddie in the water, unresponsive.’
A member of the public came to assist Mrs Murphy who called 999 at 12.25pm, leading to a helicopter air ambulance to be scrambled to the family home.
Eddie was rushed to Worthing General Hospital by air ambulance, where he was declared dead just after lunchtime despite desperate efforts to revive him.
Following a post mortem examination, Eddie’s cause of death was given as ‘immersion in water (drowning)’ and a police investigation was launched into his death.
Dr Henderson confirmed the results of the major crime investigation found no evidence of any suspicious circumstances surrounding the child’s death.
Concluding the inquest, Dr Henderson said on the balance of probabilities she was satisfied that Eddie’s death was a ‘tragic accident’ and there were no learning opportunities.