Sophie with a treasured picture of Ashlea-Mae Image: Her daughter Ashlea-Mae, aged 15 months, was suffocated when the side of the drop-down cot came loose, trapping her tiny neck. Despite desperate efforts by a team of doctors and nurses, Ashlea-Mae was pronounced dead leaving Sophie shell-shocked with grief.
But the tragedy took a dreadful twist when just hours later the police arrived at the hospital and arrested Sophie, 24, suspecting her of harming her own daughter. Back in September , Sophie, from Crewe, bumped into an old friend, Karen, in town. She saw her baby curled up in the corner of the cot, appearing to be asleep. It was a mad panic. Meanwhile, as she waited anxiously with her parents, Sophie played out the evening over and over in her head, blaming herself for not checking up on her daughter sooner.
An hour later, a doctor delivered the tragic news — despite their best efforts Ashlea-Mae was dead.
She was such a bubbly little girl, always giggling or trying to boss me around. Instead, when I bent down to kiss her forehead she was cold and still. She was my princess, my angel, and now she was gone. I was arrested on suspicion of assault leading to the death of a child, and led straight out of the hospital to the police station. No one would listen though.
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Instead I was stripped, had samples of my hair taken, and bundled into a cell. It was surreal, like I was watching it happen to someone else. People had seen police tape outside my home and heard Ashlea-Mae had gone, then drawn their own horrible conclusions. I think I was desperate to block out grief with happy memories.
Having another baby was the last thing on my mind. It was a complete shock. In a way, it was exactly what I needed though.
Having another baby would never replace Ashlea-Mae, but it forced me to focus on the future. Sophie has now split from the father of her new baby son, who was born in November He was named Ashton, named after his sister. Getty Defective drop-side cots were blamed for the deaths of at least 32 children in a year period, until in the US government moved to outlaw them being manufactured or re-sold.
British cots come under European safety standards, which are different to the US. No ban is planned in Europe.
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