'I blame myself every day for what happened' - South Yorkshire mum's grief after baby son dies from choking

The inquest was held inside Doncaster Crown Court.
The inquest was held inside Doncaster Crown Court.
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A grief-stricken mum has told how she is tormented with guilt after leaving her baby son in a room for a few moments who later died from choking.

Rebecca Scarpelli left her 11-month-old son Alfie in the living room of her Rotherham home with her two other children to go and look in the kitchen to see what the family could have for their tea.

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She told how she was out of the room for no more than two minutes but she returned to find Alfie choking.

He had ingested the end of a stylus pen from a Kindle tablet that was charging in the room and died several days later in hospital due to complications from choking.

In a statement read out during an inquest into Alfie's death at Doncaster Coroner's Court, Ms Scarpelli said: “I blame myself every day for what happened.”

The 28-year-old nursery nurse was looking after the three children at her home in North Road, East Dene, after her long-term partner Duane Moore left to go to work on the afternoon of February 4 this year.

She described how she left the living room “for literally a few seconds” to have a look in the freezer in the kitchen to see what they could eat for their tea.

She was away for “one or two minutes maximum” and returned to the living room to find Alfie in distress.

Ms Scarpelli said he was trying to cough but was “struggling” and then his body “tensed up.”

She administered first aid and immediately rang emergency services.

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He was taken to Rotherham District General Hospital and later transferred to Sheffield Children's Hospital.

The end of the kindle stylus pen was removed but Alfie was left critically ill and he died after going into cardiac arrest on February 7.

Pathologist Dr Marta Cohen said the choking had blocked his airway causing a lack of oxygen to the brain which led to his death.

Mr Moore, Alfie's father, said he had been using the Kindle on the morning of the incident and was certain he had put it and the stylus pen back in its case and placed it to charge before leaving.

South Yorkshire Police concluded there was no suspicious circumstances and no action needed to be taken.

Assistant coroner Louise Slater said Alfie's parents should not blame themselves for what happened and described the boy as “very well looked after and much loved.”

She told Ms Scarpelli that she could not have done any more to save him and praised her for her quick-actions after noticing her son was choking.

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The coroner added that they should not feel guilty about leaving the Kindle to charge in the room and added: “Do not put blame at your door doing something that is done in every house.”

Ms Slater concluded Aflie died as a result of an accident.