Inquest to resume into mother and baby deaths


An inquest will resume today into the deaths of a mother and her newborn baby whose bodies were found after they went missing from a maternity hospital.

Charlotte Bevan, 30, vanished from St Michael's Hospital in Bristol with four-day-old Zaani Tiana Bevan Malbrouck at about 9pm on December 2 last year.

CCTV footage showed the new mother, from Clifton, Bristol, leaving the hospital without a car, wearing hospital slippers and carrying her daughter in a blanket.

Search teams located the bodies of Ms Bevan, who had suffered from schizophrenia and depression, and Zaani on the Avon Gorge on December 3 and 4 respectively.

The inquest, before Avon Coroner Maria Voisin, is expected to last up to two weeks.

Numerous witnesses are expected to give evidence in person or through read statements during the hearing, which will be held at the coroner's court in Flax Bourton.

A pre-inquest review in July heard the coroner has instructed an independent psychiatrist to review care given to Ms Bevan at the hospital following the birth of Zaani.

A Root Cause Analysis investigation, which takes place following incidents in the NHS, has been conducted at the hospital.

Results of the investigation were expected to be ready at the end of August, when a panel of experts will have presented any recommendations.

During the inquest, staff at the hospital and the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust will be called to recount their dealings with Ms Bevan and Zaani.

The hospital's child abduction policy and medical records for both mother and child will also be examined.

Ms Bevan's family, including mother Rachel Fortune, have submitted a statement, while her partner, Pascal Malbrouck, will give evidence in person.

Ms Voisin will consider whether it is appropriate to write a report to prevent future deaths following the inquest.

Paying tribute after the deaths, Mrs Fortune said: "My beautiful daughter and granddaughter are now at peace."