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Friday, 22 February, 2002, 15:56 GMT
Baby deaths trial told of revival
Winchester Crown Court
Experts will give evidence at the Winchester court
A health visitor has told the trial of a mother accused of smothering two of her children how she had previously revived one of the infants on a home visit.

Angela Cannings, 38, is alleged to have murdered seven-week-old Jason Cannings in June 1991, and four-month-old, Matthew Cannings in November 1999 as they slept in their cots.

Winchester Crown Court heard that Gloria Peacock had driven to the Mrs Cannings' house at Winterbourne Gunner, Wiltshire on June 4 1991 to visit Jason Cannings.

She said Mrs Cannings opened the door and said: "It's happened again."

'Something wrong'

Paul Dunkels QC, prosecuting, asked Mrs Peacock: "Did you understand what she meant when she said that at first?"

Mrs Peacock: said: "I knew there was something wrong but when she said it we both moved into the flat.

"I saw Jason lying on the bottom of a double bed at a slight angle, he was white, he was not moving and I knew then she meant he had died."

Mr Dunkels then asked: "What was the first assessment of Jason's condition by you?" Mrs Peacock: "I thought he was a cot death."

Mr Dunkels asked whether Mrs Peacock had been aware of an apnoea alarm sounding and she said she did not hear a thing.

Mrs Peacock added: "I dropped what I was carrying and I bent his head back to open up his airways.

"I put my mouth over his nose and mouth. I breathed gently into his mouth and nose. I continued to do that for a number of breaths. I told Mrs Cannings to phone an ambulance. She went to do it.

Ambulance arrived

"Jason then gasped and seemed to respond. I carried on breathing for another short period.

"I picked up Jason and patted his back and moved him to stimulate his breathing and then I carried him into the sitting room where Mrs Cannings was."

Mr Dunkels asked: "How was she?"

Mrs Peacock said: "She seemed very shocked. I think sobbing. I passed Jason to her and put him in her arms. She seemed shocked and unable to respond.

"I took Jason back into my arms, I walked up and down the room with him on my shoulder to keep him breathing."

The ambulance then arrived and took over the care of Jason who was taken to hospital.

Earlier the court heard that both babies had died exactly nine days after they suffered what is termed "An Acute Life-Threatening Event" (ALTE)

The prosecution alleges Mrs Cannings smothered or suffocated the boys and tried to cover up the deaths as cot death.

Her' first child also died in 1989 from cot death but she faces no charges relating to this incident.

The trial continues.


Click here to go to BBC Wiltshire
See also:

21 Feb 02 | England
Jurors visit baby death homes
20 Feb 02 | England
Baby death case restarts
Links to more England stories are at the foot of the page.


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