Exmouth toddler's death 'tragic and rare' rules coroner

A TODDLER from Littleham whose 'personality lit up the room', who died suddenly a month short of her second birthday, had a history of breathing problems an inquest has heard.

A TODDLER from Littleham whose personality 'lit up the room', who died suddenly a month short of her second birthday, had a history of breathing problems an inquest has heard.

Ruby Faye Lynch, of Littleham, Road, was 23 months old when she was discovered dead in bed in August 2009 by her mother, Lucy Lynch.

Exeter and greater Devon deputy coroner Darren Salter recorded a verdict of natural causes, saying the said the youngster's death had been 'tragic and rare' as a result of a contracting a viral lung infection.

The inquest heard how toddler Ruby had recurrent breathing problems.

It revealed there was a family history of asthma, breathless and wheezing.

Medics examining Ruby after she died said the tot suffered acute bronchiolitis - an infection of the small air passages of the lungs.

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Darren Salter said: "There's no evidence to suggest it was anything but a tragic and rare death from natural causes."

After the findings, Ruby's nana, Sheena Robinson, said: "Ruby was a lovely bright little girl with lovely blue eyes. She always lit up the room when she came in."

The inquest heard how on the day of Ruby's death the little girl had appeared in fine health.

Mum Lucy Lynch had earlier in the day taken the youngster to the Clipper Pub in The Strand, then to The Bath House pub, on Exmouth seafront.

And the youngster had spent some time playing on Exmouth beach.

Later Ruby stayed at Victoria Road, at the home of Hannah Tucker, where she was looked after while Miss Lynch went to visit her father in hospital.

The youngster was picked up by her mum, taken home to Littleham, and put to bed at around 8pm.

When she went to check on her daughter at around 12.15pm, Miss Lynch noticed the youngster was lying on her front and not moving.

"When I put her to bed she was well," Miss Lynch told the inquest.

Initially believing her daughter was in a deep sleep, the tot's mother touched Ruby's arm and rolled her onto her back.

Immediately she noticed her daughter was 'lifeless' and her lips were blue.

The inquest heard how Miss Lynch ran downstairs to call her daughter's grandmother before wrapping Ruby in a blanket and waiting with her, in her arms, to be driven to hospital.

On the short drive to the hospital Miss Lynch was screaming through panic.

Minutes later the family arrived at Exmouth Hospital and when they found access doors locked, Ruby's grandmother telephoned for an ambulance.

Reports heard how Ruby was immediately laid on the floor and given CPR by her grandmother, following instructions on the telephone after dialling 999.

When paramedics arrived they continued to try to revive Ruby while she and Miss Lynch were driven by ambulance to The Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.

The little girl was pronounced dead at the hospital's resuscitation unit.

The inquest heard how prior to her death, Ruby had suffered two bouts of breathing problems.

In Jan 2008 she was taken to hospital after a GP diagnosed her with having asthma.

There it was revealed the tot had bronchiolitis and was sent home after making a full recovery.

Ruby, who was up to date with her vaccinations, suffered a further health scare in January 2009 when Miss Lynch noticed her daughter's breathing was 'sharp.

The tot was given a nebuliser at hospital, told she could go home and had recovered by the following day.