Baby drowned in tragic bathtime accident, inquest told

First published in News Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , Bradford Chief Reporter

A baby drowned in the bath in a “terrible accident” at his Bradford home, an inquest heard.

But a coroner said a mother who left her boy and three-year-old daughter alone in the bath was not to blame for her son’s drowning.

Fourteen-month-old Mohammed Rehaan Bashir died last May after he slipped under the water while his mother Philipa Bashir was downstairs fetching a towel. Mrs Bashir said she only left the children for a minute.

Yesterday, an inquest at Bradford Coroner’s Court concluded that the death at a house in Beech Crescent, Bradford Moor, was an accident.

Assistant coroner Timothy Ratcliffe said: “It’s important that I record that I don’t regard his mother Philipa as being to blame in any way for what happened to Rehaan. She was carrying out the normal duties of a mother.

“When she went downstairs to carry out a very small chore of obtaining a towel she thought that was safe and I agree with her.”

On May 29, 2013, Mrs Bashir was bathing Rehaan and his older sister, Ayisha, when the accident happened.

A summary of a police interview, which was later conducted with the mother, was read out by Detective Chief Inspector Adrian Taylor, who was the senior investigating officer probing the death.

Mrs Bashir was “extremely distressed” when interviewed under caution on June 7 at Trafalgar House Police Station, the court heard.

She said the family arrived home at about 3pm on May 29, had something to eat, watched television and she did some ironing. Ayisha told her mother she wanted sandwiches for tea and Mrs Bashir called her husband, Naweed, who was working as a delivery driver. He took sandwiches and chocolate to the house.

“The kids were covered in chocolate, so I went to run a bath for them,” she told officers, adding that the water was about six inches deep.

DCI Taylor said after washing the children, Mrs Bashir realised she had no towel so went downstairs.

“She went back to the bathroom and saw Rehaan was under water. She threw the towels down and told Ayisha to get out of the bath and pulled Rehaan out the bath,” DCI Taylor said.

She wrapped the baby in a red towel and ran downstairs and called 999.

The court heard the call lasted just over eight minutes and Mrs Bashir was given advice on how to try and revive the lifeless child.

“Mrs Bashir initially stated, ‘I need an ambulance. My son’s drowned in the bath’,” DCI Taylor said The mother told the operator that she had only left the children for “two minutes”.

The baby was taken to BRI by paramedics, but died just before 2am the following day.

DCI Taylor said after discussing the case with the Crown Prosecution Service, it was decided that no crime had been committed in relation to the death.

Post-mortem examinations found the cause of death was drowning Mr Ratcliffe added: “It’s a terrible accident that must have affected his mum and dad terribly.”

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