‘Caring and Gentle’ 3-year-old dies unexpectedly while snuggled on the sofa with Dad’s blanket

Mystery surrounds the sudden death of a tragic three-year-old, who was found lifeless on the sofa snuggled under her father’s blanket.

The death of Medina Al-Kathiri remains unexplained, a coroner judged a “sudden unexplained death in childhood”.

Medina was found unresponsive on the sofa at the family home in east London on the morning of January 3, 2022, by her mother Francesca Fenton, an inquest has found.

The heartbroken mother described her as a “caring and gentle” girl who was “full of joy”.

The tot was a restless sleeper and often wished she could sleep in the living room with her father’s blanket, whom she missed while he was in custody.

After finding her daughter “stiff” and “blue all over,” Francesca desperately contacted the emergency services.

But despite the best efforts of paramedics, she was pronounced dead at 8:52 a.m. Despite a “comprehensive” autopsy, her cause of death remains undetermined, having found no injury or natural illness. MyLondon reports.

An inquest at St Pancras Coroner’s Court found that Medina’s birth had been complicated after a midwife was unable to check her heartbeat.

The inquest found that Medina’s father was serving a sentence at the time of her death following previous incidents of domestic violence



Francesca had been taken to the Royal London Hospital for an emergency caesarean, which she described as “traumatic” for her and her baby, and when she was born, Medina was not breathing.

However, when she was discharged from the hospital, no congenital abnormalities were found and she came home to her siblings.

Francesca told the inquest: “She appeared to be a normal baby, she could sit up at the right time, she could crawl and walk. Over time I noticed that my happy child didn’t give me contact, didn’t want to socialize with the family, she wanted to sit alone and swing herself.

“I could see that my daughter was not normal, I have two other daughters before Medina. They told me that kids are sometimes late developers and I said, “What about the rocking and not making eye contact or not wanting to cuddle?” It is only through the perseverance of me and my husband that Medina has grown.”

Medina’s family suspected that she was autistic as she struggled with noise and would become overstimulated. She was also nonverbal, despite her parents’ best efforts, and could only say the words “egg” and “hug” by the age of three.

Instead of being hugged, Medina had developed her own “quirks of affection,” which consisted of stroking or touching her family’s hair.

Describing Medina as “the most amazing little girl,” her tearful mother said, “She was so calm, so caring, so gentle, full of happiness and joy. She was always smiling, always giggling. She was a pleasure to be around and we all miss her dearly.”

she said MyLondon: “She just had the most beautiful demeanor about her, she was so calm. She came and stroked your hair to show her the way, she was always smiling.”

After enjoying a party in Yorkshire on January 2, the young woman spent the drive to the family home in Whitechapel “giggling” with her two sisters. Before bed, she had been seen playing with a toy snake and had eaten some chocolate brioche before being tucked onto the sofa after eating two sleep gummies.

Medina was a restless sleeper and often wanted to sleep on the landing floor or in the living room. Her mother said: “She enjoyed sleeping on her father’s blankets and she had been sleeping in the landing hallway where we have pictures of the family and she was touching pictures of her father for comfort.”

At the time of Medina’s death, her father was serving a sentence following previous incidents of domestic violence and is currently the subject of a restraining order against Francesca.

After spending time with her sisters, Medina was tucked into the blankets on the sofa in her Frozen pajamas, and her mother said in the hours leading up to her death, “It wasn’t anything unusual.” However, she did not wake up the next morning after her sisters entered the room to watch TV.

“Then I went to Medina and put my hand on her and I immediately knew something was wrong because she felt stiff. I remember taking the covers off her and she turned blue all over,” her mother emotionally told the court. “I immediately ran to my phone, I couldn’t speak. All I could do was scream for help and I kept saying, ‘Please someone help me, my baby is dead’.”

Both paramedics and police officers rushed to the scene and despite their resuscitation efforts, Medina was tragically pronounced dead. Metropolitan Police Officer Matthew Burt remarked that the “property was clean and tidy” and there were no concerns for the welfare of the other children present.

CCTV was requested due to previous incidents between Medina’s parents, but this showed that after the family returned from Yorkshire, no one had entered the property and no one was seen hurrying off the premises. It was concluded that her death was “still an unexplained death but not suspicious.”

The inquiry also heard from Robert Bielby, of Children’s Social Services for the Borough of Tower Hamlets, who said the family was known after previous domestic incidents. Medina and her siblings were made the subject of child protection plans in September 2020, but both parents have contacted support services and it was understood they had not suffered “significant harm” by July 2021.

A social worker noted that Medina’s needs were being met and that adequate safety measures were in place at the family home, that it was comfortable and that her mother had supported her with “emotional warmth” and had sought help for Medina’s delayed development. Speaking to MyLondon, Francesca said she has attended numerous meetings with a speech therapist and has attempted to get her daughter tested for autism.

She was made the subject of frequent waiting lists and received a notification after Medina’s death that an appointment was scheduled eight months in the future.

An autopsy by Dr. Samantha Levin revealed “no developmental abnormalities, no evidence of trauma,” as well as normal signs of growth, coloration, and no signs of seizure. An internal examination revealed that her organs were normally developed, and while there was some evidence of gastric contents in the large airways, these were absent in the smaller airways.

She told the court that Medina’s death was due to the sudden unexpected death of a child or an underlying genetic heart condition, as she could not identify any “injury or natural illness.”

Her cause of death was listed as 1A) unexplained, sudden unexplained death in infancy.

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https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/caring-gentle-three-year-old-27310790 'Caring and Gentle' 3-year-old dies unexpectedly while snuggled on the sofa with Dad's blanket

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