Parents who went on a 24-hour Christmas alcohol binge are not going to be charged for the death of their 1-month infant.
Mother and alcoholic father spent the day prior to child’s death drunk with friends.
The child, Freddie Neil, was left on the floor of his older brothers room. He was wedged between the wall and bed. The next morning father Matthew Neil awoke to their older son crying in need of a diaper change. The father then checked for Freddie, and realized he wasn’t in his bassinet.
When they found Freddie, he was unresponsive. Neither parent could say how the child got there. Mr. Neil denied being drunk. He claimed to remember laying the child in his bassinet. The infant was declared dead at the hospital.
The parents were arrested and charged with manslaughter and neglect. Freddie reportedly had bronchitis, the exact cause of death is unclear, but may have been related to his poor sleeping arrangement.
Crown Prosecution Service decided to drop the charges. CPS decided that there was not enough evidence to charge the couple.
“We considered the criminal charge of wilful neglect and the file was carefully reviewed according to the Code for Crown Prosecutors….The CPS concluded, following consultation with the investigating police officers, that there was insufficient evidence to charge either person with this offence.”
The couple are no longer together. Mr. Neil, who previously denied treatment for alcoholism, has begun to seek further help from drug and alcohol services.
Specialist Amanda Clarke, who investigated the factors of Freddie’s death, made several suggestions on how to prevent further tragedies. She proposes the launch of a campaign to warn the public about inherent danger of child-watching under the influence, among other programs which aim to identify and support expectant parent’s problem areas.
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