Police ‘Took Time Examining Baby’ At Stoke Mosque
A baby boy who died after being left outside a mosque was not examined for 45 minutes after he was found, a member of the mosque has claimed.
Staffordshire Police originally said a baby’s body had been found outside Makki Masjid mosque in Shelton, Stoke-on-Trent, on Saturday morning.
It later said the boy had been alive, but died later in hospital.
Worshipper Navid Hussain said police had “assumed” the baby was dead. The force would not comment.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said the case had been referred to it by Staffordshire Police.
A spokeswoman for the commission said it was looking into the initial police assessment of the scene to “determine our [police] level of involvement”.
Police have urged the mother to come forward, saying she may need medical help and support.
Mr Hussain, 41, from Shelton, said a religious teacher arriving for a class at 1000 GMT had found a suspicious package on the steps of the mosque in Beresford Street.
Mr Akhbar called police after finding the baby in a bag
He had called a mosque trustee, Mohammed Akhbar, who in turn called police.
Officers later discovered the package was actually a baby placed inside a newsagent’s carrier bag.
The newborn was believed to be premature, between 36 and 38 weeks, and had a Staffordshire Newsletter newspaper wrapped around him.
He was also wrapped in some white cloth and a T-shirt with two £10 notes tucked inside and a note that read “please help bury him. Shukran”.
Shukran is the Arabic word for thank you.
Mr Akhbar said when police responded to his call they began by cordoning off the street.
“We’d been standing here about 45 minutes to an hour and there was no movement or anything, so we assumed it was dead,” he added.
Police said they were called at about 1030 GMT.
Nobody pulled back the cloth from the face of the baby for about 45 minutes. They didn’t call an ambulance or a coroner or anyone to check
The boy was taken to University Hospital of North Staffordshire at about 1130 GMT.
“Sadly at 1230 [GMT], despite the efforts of the medical team, the baby died,” Staffordshire Police said on Saturday.
The death is being treated as unexplained.
Mr Hussain said he was angry that more effort had not been made to medically examine the child sooner.
“They just took it as fact that he was dead,” he said. “Nobody pulled back the cloth from the face of the baby for about 45 minutes. “They didn’t call an ambulance or a coroner or anyone to check.
“They were too busy closing off the road and asking people if they had seen anything.”
Rachel Cerfontyne, from the IPCC, said: “It is important that the IPCC independently investigates the initial response by Staffordshire Police to ascertain the actions taken by police to ensure that all correct procedures were followed.
“At this sad time, however, it is also important to underline that Staffordshire Police will continue to investigate the death and to attempt to trace the baby’s mother, which is of primary importance”.
Det Ch Insp Phil Bladen, from Staffordshire Police, said: “The focus of our investigation is to find and help the mother of the baby, who may need medical treatment and support.
“It is likely she is in a distressed state and I urge her to come forward so we can support her.”
A post-mortem examination is due to be carried out on Monday morning.