Mum, 21, will ‘never have closure’ over sudden death of ‘playful and cuddly’ baby boy

Grief-stricken mum Latoyah Ibbeson, 21, whose ‘playful, happy and cuddly’ toddler died suddenly last year, said she is living in a ‘never-ending tragedy’ and fears she’ll never get closure at the conclusion of an inquest at Nottingham Council House today

The grief-stricken mum of a “playful and happy” toddler who died suddenly in his cot says she’s in a “never-ending tragedy” and may “never reach closure” at the end of an inquest into her little boy’s death.

Latoyah Ibbeson, 21, attended the hearing at Nottingham’s Council House this week hoping to find out why her 15-month-old Emmett Jago Rathband died in his crib on May 2, 2021.

But the distraught mum left feeling angry and upset and fears she’ll never have a “conclusive answer”.

Speaking to Nottinghamshire Live outside the court, she said: “It feels like a never-ending tragedy that happened to me.

“I do not know if I will ever find the conclusive answer – I am just very angry, upset and let down.”

During the second and final day of the inquest today, the court heard from witnesses involved in the youngster’s treatment in the weeks leading up to his death.

Baby Emmett was taken to Nottingham University Hospitals Trust (NUH) over concerns about his noisy breathing last April.

The toddler attended two consultations to Queen’s Medical Centre, where he saw Dr Andrew Preyell and Mr Mat Daniel, and underwent a pre-operation called adenoidectomy and also tonsil shaving.

Prior to this, the baby had also undergone a sleep study at King’s Mill Hospital, which determined Emmett was suffering from obstructive sleep apnea.

The findings prompted specialists at NUH to schedule a provisional date for a surgery to investigate the cause of Emmett’s obstructive breathing. This was due to take place on July 13 at the latest, Mr Mat Daniel told the court.

However, this would have been months after Emmett was found dead in his cot at home in Alexandra Street, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, on May 2 last year.

The earliest possible date for him to undergo the surgery would have been a week after the baby died, the inquest heard.

Further investigations were due to take place at the Queen’s Medical Centre in October this year, including potential discussions about Emmett needing a face mask or ventilation to help him breathe.

Dr Elizabeth Didcock, assistant coroner for Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, said that “while all the steps planned were correct – it might have been just too slow”.

“I understand that work load might have affected this,” she told the court.

“And I cannot say that this has caused Emmett’s death – but we might have had a clearer picture now.”

A pathological examination found the cause of death was a “combination of factors” linked to his diagnosis of Down’s syndrome, obstructive sleep apnea, chronic viral tracheitis and an anomalous right subclavian artery.

In response to the findings, Dr Preyell told the court: “Every-time a child dies it is a great tragedy.

“But in this particular case it just feels uncomfortable that we do not know the specific cause of his death.”

In absence of another explanation, the inquest conclusion was that baby Emmett died of natural causes, in line with the pathological examination.

A spokesperson for Sherwood Forest Hospitals said: “This is a very sad case and we would like to offer our condolences to Emmett’s family for their loss.

“There is always important learning to be taken from these tragic events and we will ensure that we further review our care, processes and procedures following the conclusion of the hearing.”