Lancashire coroners dealing with surge in sudden deaths including tragic youngsters

Lancashire is dealing with a tragic increase in deaths among its young people.
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Coroners for Blackpool and Preston (Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen) say they are currently dealing with a 20% increase in deaths, with many of those under the age of 40.

These cases in which people died unexpectedly have been referred to the county coroner for further investigation and inquests will be held in the coming months.

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The surge in premature deaths include a worrying number of children whose deaths are to be investigated by Lancashire’s coroners.

The following are just some of the tragic youngsters who have sadly died in recent months, with a cause yet to be officially confirmed.

Bella Greer, 14

Bella Greer, 14, was found unresponsive at her home in Cypress Point, Ansdell, on Thursday, October 5.

Her mother Sarah performed CPR but was sadly unable to resuscitate her daughter despite her best efforts.

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A brief inquest hearing was held at Blackpool Town Hall on October 12, with Senior Coroner Alan Taylor saying that a medical cause of death is yet to be established.

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Toxicological analysis has been completed and the coroner concluded that Bella's death was not caused by natural causes and that a full inquest should therefore take place at a future date.

Jack Piper-Sheach, 10

Jack Piper-Sheach, 10, from Grimsby, was found unresponsive in the reception area of Tiffany’s Hotel on the Promenade, Blackpool at around 10.40pm on Sunday, September 3.

He was taken to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool where he sadly died four days later (Thursday, September 7), with his family by his bedside.

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Lancashire Police said the youngster’s injuries were “consistent with coming into contact with a high voltage of electricity".

An inquest into Jack’s death was opened on September 15 and adjourned by the Blackpool and Fylde senior coroner Alan Wilson.

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He said: “There’s clearly questions to be asked about how this incident happened. Jack was on holiday with his family in Blackpool, staying at the Tiffany’s Hotel on the North Promenade.

“It was reported that during the evening of 3 September, Jack had been in the lobby area and at some point he’s become unresponsive and was believed to have been electrocuted.”

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A further pre-inquest hearing is scheduled for December 15 and the full inquest is set for February 6, 2024.

Faye Dawson, 3

Faye Dawson, aged three, of Wallasey, Merseyside, died on Saturday November 19, 2022, after the car she was travelling in was involved in a collision with a Porsche Boxster sportscar on the M6 near Leyland.

Faye and her family had been returning home after enjoying a carefree day at the seaside in Blackpool.

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A full inquest into her death is due to be heard at Preston Coroner's Court on Thursday, November 2.

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HM Coroner for both Lancashire (Preston & Blackburn) and Blackpool and Fylde were approached for comment.

Preston Davey, 13 months

Preston Davey is the subject of a murder probe by Lancashire Police and two men have been arrested in connection with his death.

A 34-year-old was arrested on suspicion of murder and a 30-year-old arrested on suspicion of causing and allowing the death of a child and child neglect.

The toddler, who lived on Staining Road, Staining, arrived at Blackpool Victoria Hospital in an unresponsive state shortly after 6.30pm on July 27 and sadly died just after 7.15pm, despite the efforts of medical staff.

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Blackpool coroner Alan Wilson said that concerns had been raised by clinicians at the hospital in relation to the youngster’s condition.

A post mortem has been carried out by pathologist Dr Alison Armour but she withheld her medical opinion upon the outcome of a police investigation.

The inquest was adjourned until March 8, 2024.

An epidemic of young deaths

The deaths of than 20 people who died under the age of 40 are to be investigated by Lancashire’s coroners over the next few weeks.

The cause of death has not been confirmed for these cases, and some will sadly be due to natural causes and tragic accidents.

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But two of the biggest killers among people under 40 are thought to be suicide and drug use.

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The UK Office for National Statistics says suicide is the leading cause of death for both males and females aged 20 to 35.

Fatal drug use is also among the leading causes of death among young people in the North West of England.

This has raised concerns over whether enough is being done to help Lancashire’s younger people deal with mental health and drug issues.

Upcoming inquests (aged under 40)

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These inquests are to be held within the next month at coroner’s courts in either Blackpool or Preston.

- Thomas Brotherton, 0, Preston

- Ryleigh Hillcoat-Bee, 3, Blackpool

- Jack Piper-Sheach, 10, Blackpool

- Ryan Harvey, 22, Preston

- Keanan Hayes, 24, Bamber Bridge

- Dylan McEwan (also known as Dylan Smith), 24, Blackpool

- Matthew Guthrie, 25, Blackpool

- Jade Ellison, 26, Preston

- Thomas Morgan, 27, Blackburn

- Matthew Thompson, 29, Preston

- Jordan McCloud, 30, Blackpool

- Heather Kearns, 31, Preston

- Sara Read, 31, Preston

- Samuel Hawarden, 32, Preston

- Simon Gaskell, 34

- Sabina Wood, 36, Blackpool

- Natasha Lennon, 37, Blackpool

- Thomas Walton, 37, Leyland

- James Fletcher, 39, Leyland

- Thomas Kiff, 39, Fleetwood

Preston coroner (Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen) Dr James Adeley and Blackpool and Fylde coroner Alan Wilson were approached for comment.