news

Toddler who died with antidepressants in his blood also had deep bruises, inquest hears.

By NICOLE CHETTLE and SARAH HAWKE.

A toddler who died after ingesting a powerful antidepressant also had injuries that were not typical for a child, a coronial inquest has heard.

Jordan Thompson was 21 months old when he died in the unit of his mother’s partner in Singleton in the New South Wales Hunter region in 2005.

A video of Cecil Kennedy, who was caring for the boy when he died, re-enacting the scene when he found the child unresponsive and face-down in the bath was played at Glebe Coroner’s Court on Wednesday.

In the recording, Mr Kennedy said he performed CPR and told a police officer: “His eyes were funny. He wasn’t fully alert.

“But he was alive when I was doing it.”

Jordan’s mother Bernice Swales was one of a number of family members in court for the first day of a three-day coronial hearing in Sydney.

Chris McGorey, the counsel assisting deputy coroner Magistrate Elaine Truscott, told the inquest that the boy was being looked after by Ms Swales’ partner Mr Kennedy while she was out shopping.

The court heard that when she arrived home, she scooped the child in her arms and ran to the nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.

An autopsy found traces of amitriptyline, which is used in antidepressant drugs.

In his address to the court, Mr McGorey said traces of the drug had also been found in the boy’s vomit from when he had been sick earlier in the day.

Three weeks later, a packet of antidepressants containing amitriptylin was found in Mr Kennedy’s wardrobe.

The court heard it was impossible to tell whether that was what killed the boy despite high levels of the substance being detected in his blood.

ADVERTISEMENT

The inquest heard Mr Kennedy has previously denied administering the drug to Jordan.

Professor Olaf Drummer, a forensic pharmacologist from Monash University, said the drug was known to increase in concentration in the blood after death.

“It can go up several fold,” Professor Drummer said.

“It could have been one tablet. It could have been more tablets.

“Because you can’t know what the concentration was at the time of death, any estimation as to the dose the child was given could be very misleading.”

Bruising not the ‘normal knocks of a toddler’

The inquest also heard Jordan had deep internal bruising that might have been the result of a blunt force injury.

Professor Timothy Lyons from the School of Medicine at the University of Newcastle said the boy had an unusual pattern of bruises that he did not believe would “relate to the normal knocks and falls of a toddler”.

He said he could not rule out drowning and had other concerns too.

“I wouldn’t routinely expect to see blood in the anal opening of a child of this age,” Professor Lyons said.

Last month, police in the Hunter region offered a $100,000 reward for information about Jordan’s death.

The Deputy Coroner said she was hopeful that technological advances of the last decade would unlock key evidence.

Ms Truscott told Jordan’s parents and extended family she was of the view there was a final piece of evidence to be found.

The inquest will resume on Friday.

This post originally appeared on ABC Online.

© 2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved. Read the ABC Disclaimer here.

00:00 / ???