Charlotte Bevan: Body of baby girl found in Avon Gorge after mother formally identified

Charlotte Bevan, 30, and her newborn baby daughter, Zaani Tiana, disappeared on Tuesday

The body of a baby girl believed to be the daughter of Charlotte Bevan has been found by police in Bristol.

Ms Bevan, 30, was formally identified by Avon and Somerset Police today. Her body was discovered in a deep ravine on Wednesday night.

The identity of the baby has not yet been confirmed but police say they are "confident" it is Ms Bevan's daughter, Zaani Tiana.

 
Ms Bevan's mother, Rachel Fortune, today said: "My beautiful daughter and grand-daughter are now at peace," and went on to thank her daughter's partner, Pascal Malbrouck.

"The family would like to thank all the friends of Pascal, Charlotte and Zaani, some of whom we have only met today.

"We would also like to say thank you for all the messages from everyone."

Read more: Police release CCTV footage in appeal for Bristol mother
Police find woman's body in Avon Gorge

A statement on the Avon and Somerset Police force website said: "Although formal identification has not yet taken place, we are confident this is the body of five-day-old Zaani Tiana Bevan Malbrouck.

"The body of Zaani's mother Charlotte Bevan was formally identified earlier today having been found at the same site last night.

 "Our thoughts are with Charlotte’s family and partner Pascal at this very sad time."

Ms Bevan walked out of St Michael's Hospital in Bristol on Tuesday with her four-day-old daughter.

CCTV footage showed that she did not have a coat and was wearing hospital slippers, a long black top and black trousers. The newborn baby was wrapped in a blanket.

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University Hospitals Bristol Trust said they have now launched an investigation into the mother and baby's care

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Avon and Somerset Police during the search at Avon Gorge for missing mother Charlotte Bevan and her newborn baby girl Zaani Tiana Bevan Malbrouck

Hours before she went missing, Ms Bevan posted a self-help video on her Facebook page called 'Get Through Positive And Negative Thinking Rough Patches'.

After she disappeared, her boyfriend, and Zaani's father, Pascal Malbrouck, told the Bristol Post that Ms Bevan had been suffering from mental health problems. He said that she had been "happy" before she gave birth, but had been sleep deprived.

He issued an emotional appeal at a press conference for Ms Bevan to return home, saying: “I miss you. The last few days have been amazing and I want many more of these.

“Please come home. I am waiting for you. You are welcome home at time even if it’s not straight away. Please just let us know you are ok.”


Her mother, Rachel Fortune, also pleaded for her daughter to get in touch. “We have really enjoyed seeing you being such a good mother – let’s go forward with that," she said.

“We all love you very much and just want to know you are ok.”

Friends described Ms Bevan, who is believed to have suffered from schizophrenia and depression, as part of a "happy couple" and said her disappearance was "out of character".

Police began searching for the pair at Avon Gorge on Tuesday night, after a member of the public who was walking along the cliff edge spotted the mutli-coloured blanket that Ms Bevan carried her out of the hospital in.

Staff at the hospital where the mother and baby were saying were shocked when they checked on the pair at 8:30pm, but realised they were missing 35minutes later.

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The bodies of Charlotte Bevan and Zaani Tiana Bevan Malbrouck were discovered in Avon Gorge

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Flowers for Ms Bevan and her newborn baby left by the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol

A spokeswoman for University Hospitals Bristol Trust said a review of the care Ms Bevan and her baby received would be undertaken.

The hospital also said its staff could not have stopped her from leaving.

While access is restricted, patients are free to come and go until the end of visiting hours and 10pm, and are able to release the doors from inside to let themselves out. The doors re-open at 6am, before which access is via intercom answered by a night porter.

Pregnant women are screened for new and existing mental health problems and are assessed for increased risk of perinatal mental ill health, a spokeswoman said.

"We are deeply saddened to hear the news of the death of Charlotte Bevan and offer our heartfelt condolences to her family," the Trust spokeswoman said.

"While it remains unclear as to how Charlotte died, we will be conducting a thorough review of the care Charlotte and her baby received to see if there was anything we could have done to prevent this tragic and unexplained death.

"We continue to work closely with other agencies who are continuing to search for Charlotte's baby daughter."

Additional reporting by PA

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