Keira-Mae Jones was just two days old when her mum Aimee Jones found her ‘unresponsive’ in bed at Barnsley Hospital
Image: Yorkshire Live/MEN MEDIA)
A mum threw house parties days after her baby girl was found unresponsive sleeping in the same bed with her while high on cocaine, an inquest has heard.
Keira-Mae Jones was just two days old when her mother Aimee Jones found her ‘unresponsive’ in her bed at Barnsley Hospital on Saturday May 16, 2020.
She was born on Thursday May 14 and had not been left at home as she needed to be placed in immediate foster care.
Her mother was allowed contact with her during her hospitalization and was given a room with a bed next to her bed and close to the nurses’ station.
The inquest at Medico Legal Center in Sheffield heard how Miss Jones woke up and told horrified nurses she had ‘accidentally run over the baby’ as the baby lay lifeless in her arms.
Keira-Mae had suffered “catastrophic brain damage” and after desperate attempts to revive her, she was placed on life support, which was turned off four months later.
In the days after his death, his mother Aimee Jones was seen hosting up to nine house parties and drinking with friends by a neighbor during the height of the pandemic, reports Yorkshire Live.
A coroner yesterday said he would refer the case back to the Crown so that an earlier decision not to charge the mother with manslaughter could be ‘reassessed’.
The tragic circumstances surrounding Keira-Mae’s death were heard at an inquest on Thursday, where Ms Jones told the court she believed it was ‘safe’ to care for a baby under cocaine.
She told the court: “I think you could, yes (take cocaine). I’m not saying it’s good to [but] you can do it safely, yeah.”
The court also heard from Ms Jones’ next door neighbor who recalled a conversation between her and Ms Jones in the days after Keira-Mae was put on life support.
She said she approached Ms Jones and asked her to turn down the ‘loud music’ blaring from her house.
Ms Jones then asked to chat and told him ‘I choked her, I did’.
The neighbor told the court: ‘I was absolutely mortified someone just told me they smothered their own baby.
She reported this conversation to the police the next morning.
The court heard that Ms Jones and her husband Alex often hosted house parties which were reported to police in the days following Keira-Mae’s death.
The neighbor said: “I think the actions after Keira died say it all. It was house parties, Ms Jones had friends.”
She added that she didn’t believe the friends were home for “moral support”, but were instead there “to drink”.
“It was also during a pandemic, so it was illegal. It’s just not what you expect,” she added.
Ms Jones was arrested by police on suspicion of ‘criminal superimposition’ in the days that followed, the court heard – an offense relating to the death of a child while in bed with an adult under the influence of alcohol or other substances.
Blood and urine tests taken from Ms Jones hours after Keira-Mae was found unresponsive revealed she had recently taken cocaine.
Toxicologist Dr Dianna Garside said the scan suggested Ms Jones had taken cocaine in the days before the test.
When asked by Chief Coroner David Urpeth if she could pinpoint an exact day Ms Jones might have taken the drug, Dr Garside said the evidence pointed to a three-day window; between Thursday, May 14, 2020 – the day Keira-Mae was born – and Saturday, May 16, 2020 – the day Keira-Mae was found unconscious.
Two midwives who had cared for Ms Jones and Keira-Mae said that on the day Keira-Mae was found unresponsive, Ms Jones seemed ‘restless’, ‘far away from fairies’ and had been less friendly towards them than in the two previous ones. days since childbirth.
Dr Garside said it was possible she was going through a ‘crash’ after the ‘initial euphoria’ of cocaine use.
However, Ms Jones denied taking cocaine while in hospital and told Mr Urpeth she had taken the drug the previous week, meaning she would have been pregnant at the time.
She told the court that she “[didn’t] know” what had happened to her baby girl other than that she woke up to find her unconscious in her bed.
Explaining to Mr Urpeth how she and Keira-Mae ended up in the same bed, Ms Jones – who came to court following a warrant for her arrest for failing to attend the inquest – said: “I used to sit up in my bed to feed her”.
Although she denied being under the influence of cocaine while in hospital with her baby, Ms Jones told the court she believed she could safely care for her baby if she had taken it.
A warrant was also issued for the arrest of Keira-Mae’s father, Alex Jones, who also failed to appear in court to give evidence.
Mr Urpeth asked Ms Jones if the nurses and midwives at Barnsley Hospital had advised her not to sleep with her newborn baby.
Ms Jones told the court that she had received this advice.
Mr Urpeth rejected Ms Jones’ evidence that she had not taken cocaine while hospitalized with Keira-Mae and told the court that on a balance of probabilities she had taken the drugs on Saturday May 16, 2020 – the same day Keira was found unresponsive.
Concluding the inquest, Mr Urpeth entered a verdict of unlawful killing and told the court that the mother’s ‘unlawful act directly led to Keira’s death’.
He added: “She’s someone who could and should have taken care of Keira-Mae and it’s a tragedy that she didn’t.”