Worthing baby’s drowning ‘a tragic accident’, inquest hears

A one-year-old boy who drowned in his family’s hot tub in Worthing died as a result of a ‘tragic accident’, an inquest has heard.

Crawley Coroner's Court
Crawley Coroner's Court

Eddie Murphy Boxall was found unresponsive in a hot tub in the garden of his Central Avenue home on June 24 after crawling through patio doors while his mother was on a work conference call.

At Crawley Coroner’s Court this afternoon (December 1), West Sussex Assistant Coroner Karen Henderson ruled Eddie died from drowning in a tragedy that was ‘every parent’s worst nightmare’

“As to how Eddie came to his death, it’s quite clearly a truly heartbreaking situation,” she said.

“Eddie, with his brother, was the most wanted child who, throughout his short life, had been beautifully cared for and they were indeed the most treasured possessions beyond all things for their parents.

“It is by far every parent’s worst nightmare but it was through a combination of circumstances that sadly led to Eddie’s death.”

The inquest heard Eddie’s mum, Siobhan Murphy, was working full-time from home, as a result of Covid-19 restrictions, while caring for her twin sons, Eddie and Hugo. Their father, Simon Boxall, worked full-time out of the house.

On the morning of June 24, Siobhan put Eddie and Hugo in bed for a nap at around 10am and soon after started a video conference call with colleagues.

As it was an ‘extremely hot day’, she opened the patio doors at the rear of the house to let some air in.

Eddie and Hugo stirred at around midday, the inquest heard, so Siobhan brought them down to play in the downstairs bedroom while she went to finish her call and care for them until their dad came home.

As she said goodbye to her colleagues, she called for the twins to come and say goodbye as well, but only Hugo emerged from the downstairs bedroom.

After checking the room to find Eddie was missing, she noticed the back door was still open and went outside to find the hot tub lid was open.

She found Eddie, unresponsive, in the water.

Siobhan carried her son to the front of the house, where neighbours rushed to assist. The emergency services were called at 12.35pm.

An emergency helicopter arrived first, before paramedics arrived to continue CPR before Eddie was taken to Worthing Hospital.

He was sadly pronounced dead at 1.30pm that afternoon.

Sussex Police attended the scene and in a statement read out at the inquest said there were ‘no concerns of neglect or undue risks’ in the house and ‘everything pointed to a loving family that have been left heartbroken and bereft by their loss’.

Concluding the inquest, Ms Henderson said she was satisfied there were no suspicious circumstances and offered her ‘very sincere condolences to Eddie’s family.

“I cannot for a minute imagine how difficult this has been for Eddie’s parents, and for their wider family, and I am so sorry,” she said.