Methadone baby death inquest begins

KATHRYN KING
Last updated 14:37 28/06/2013

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An inquest into the sudden death of a methadone baby in Child, Youth and Family care has begun in the Marton District Court. 

Baby Ricco Rain Spittal-Chadfield was a couple of months old when he was found dead in the port-a-cot at his foster family's home on May 3 last year.

Born with a methadone addiction, Ricco could not be looked after by his mother Tara Chadfield, who continued to have addiction problems after his birth.

Four staff from Child, Youth and Family will give evidence in front of coroner Tim Scott today.

The foster parents of the child gave evidence last week in a separate hearing after expressing fear of physical and mental threat from the child's father Daniel Spittal, who was in prison when Ricco was born.

Under scrutiny is Ricco's susceptibility to sudden infant death given his exposure to drugs, and whether his foster parents provided a suitable environment for him.

The warmth of their home and the softness of the mattress in the port-a-cot he was sleeping in are among those concerns.

The grandparents of baby Ricco were in court and asked for an adjournment on the basis that Mrs Spittal-Chadfield was unable to attend because she was at Starship Hospital with another child.

Coroner Scott denied the application.

The inquest is expected to conclude later today.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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