Boy, 4, died after getting head stuck in homemade double stairgate

Draco Chapman became stuck between two stairgates at his home in Norwich, Norfolk

Joe Middleton
Tuesday 25 January 2022 21:32
Comments
<p>Draco Chapman died in 2019 </p>

Draco Chapman died in 2019

Leer en Español

A four-year-old boy died after getting his head stuck in a homemade double stairgate, an inquest has heard.

Draco Chapman was found injured by one of his older siblings on April 2, 2019 and was taken to Norwich and Norfolk Hospital, where he was placed in an induced coma.

He was later transferred to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, in Cambridge, and then to a hospice, where he died on April 23.

An inquest heard that the child became stuck between two stairgates that had been fitted one above the other in a door frame by his mother, Rachel Chapman, at their home in Osbert Close, Norwich, Norfolk.

Dr Roddy O’Donnell, clinical director of the paediatric intensive care unit at Addenbrooke’s, said Draco died after suffering neurotic asphyxiation from accidental hanging, and a cardiac respiratory arrest.

The court heard that before his death, Draco had been diagnosed with a heart murmur and Noonan syndrome, a condition that can cause heart defects and developmental delays.

Draco, who was one of six children, all of whom lived with his mother, was being looked after by an older sibling at the time of the incident while his mother was at a parents’ evening.

Sergeant Graham Green, of Norfolk Constabulary, told the court in a statement that Draco was found injured by his sister and was taken upstairs by an older brother who carried out CPR on him and called the emergency services before his mother arrived home.

The sergeant said that when he spoke to the oldest boy about the incident, he described Draco as a “sweet little boy”.

A statement by Mrs Chapman, who was pregnant at the time of Draco’s death, described how she arrived home to find what had happened.

She said: “I returned home and expected it to be normal. My oldest child was on the phone to the ambulance screaming that he (Draco) had stopped breathing. I went upstairs to do CPR and the ambulance staff arrived and took over.”

Mrs Chapman said she had fitted the stairgates on top of one another to keep her children safe and to stop them climbing over it.

She said: “I was pregnant and agreed with the health visitor that I needed help and she made a referral to social services.

“I struggled but knew I needed help. My oldest would help with the children but I had to accept it had got out of hand.

“On April 2, I fitted the second stairgate to stop them (the children) from getting out of the lounge and on to the stairs. I thought it would act as a door and keep them safe in the lounge.

“The bottom one didn’t work as Draco used to climb over it.”

Health visitor Helen Thompson told the court in a statement she had visited the family in March 2019 and noted Draco using a toy box to climb over the stairgate.

She said: “The house had a lot of dirty nappies outside the front door and in the living room there were scraps of bread on the floor.

“When we discussed the safety of the stairgate, I said the children need to be supervised to keep them safe.”

A member of staff at the nursery Draco attended told the court in a statement that they had offered to help Mrs Chapman after noticing his clothing was dirty, and replacements given to him had not been returned.

The court heard that Draco’s mother was no longer caring for her other children, and the nursery staff member said when she visited her after his death Mrs Chapman said she would do anything to turn back time.

Draco’s death was recorded as accidental by the coroner, who said: “The medical cause of death is catastrophic brain injury and asphyxiation by hanging.

“Draco became trapped by his neck while trying to climb over the lower stairgate and as a consequence of becoming trapped between this and the higher stairgate, this caused him to become asphyxiated and caused cardiac arrest.”

Additional reporting by PA

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in