A SEVEN-WEEK old boy was found dead in his rocker on the same day a court was to decide whether to remove the baby from his mother’s care.
The Department of Family and Community Services had applied to remove Bailey Stephens from his mother following the sudden death of her daughter Heidi Weir about two and a half years earlier and a history of prescription drug addiction.
Details of the tragic case emerged as an inquest began on Tuesday examining the deaths of two babies born to South Coast woman Kelly Stephens.
The Glebe Coroner’s court heard her four-month-old daughter died in a Burrill Lakes motel on March 31, 2006.
Inquiries revealed the little girl was sleeping in a bed with her mother, and this could have contributed to her death.
A doctor at the time found Heidi’s cause of death was sudden infant death syndrome.
About two and a half years later, Ms Stephens’ seven-week-old son Bailey was found dead in a rocker next to a couch on which she had fallen asleep.
He was found dead on the morning of November 5, 2009 – the day Ms Stephens was to appear at the hearing in a Nowra court.
A magistrate had been due to assess whether Bailey should be placed in the care of the Department of Family and Community Services, which had begun proceedings to have the child removed from Ms Stephens.
Outside the court, Ms Stephens sat outside crying with a male supporter.
“A mother should never have to bury her children,” Ms Stephens told Fairfax Media.
A supporter said: “It’s very emotional for Kelly and this [the inquest] brings everything up again.”
Counsel assisting the coroner, Greg Moore, told the court the inquest would be looking into both causes of death and whether the manner in which they were sleeping contributed to their deaths.
The inquest continues.