Two-year-old from Battle died in hospital after choking on sausage at Butlin's, Bognor Regis

A mother has recalled her desperate efforts to help her two-year-old son as he choked on a piece of sausage at Butlin's in Bognor Regis.

Monday, 6th January 2020, 5:58 pm
Updated Tuesday, 7th January 2020, 11:52 am
James Manning from Battle, East Sussex

James Manning, from Battle in East Sussex, had a history of choking and breathing problems prior to the incident on June 6, 2018, an inquest at Crawley Coroner’s Court heard today.

He died two weeks later at Southampton General Hospital.

The inquest heard that James, his mother and his grandmother, had been enjoying a holiday 'full of excitement and joy' at Butlin's.

Butlin's in Bognor Regis. Photo: Google Images

His grandmother, Angela Knight, said James had liked playing games in the arcade and said: “He was just in his element, enjoying his holiday.”

That morning, the family were planning to go on a day trip and went to the food court for breakfast as usual.

They were eating when Natalie Reeves, James' mother, said she realised James was choking.

She rushed him outside of the food court to begin first aid but as she was slapping him on the back, she said he started 'fitting' in her arms – something that had never happened before.

Picking James up, she ran back inside and screamed for help, and Angela and other members of the public came to assist while an ambulance was called.

A member of the public slapped James on the back and two holiday-makers who were first aid trained began helping and administering CPR until the paramedics arrived.

According to Angela, there were a few Butlin's staff around, but she said that none helped with James - a claim which Butlin's disputes.

Natalie said: “It just seemed like everybody was just standing around while the two others were doing CPR.”

James was taken to hospital but sadly passed away on June 20, 2018.

Dr Samantha Holden, a consultant paediatric pathologist at Southampton Hospital, carried out a post-mortem and gave the cause of death as brain injury caused by a lack of oxygen, brought about by a choking episode which led to cardiac arrest, according to a statement read out at the inquest.

James' family paid tribute to him as a 'very intelligent' boy. “He was very clever for his age, he loved helping out and getting involved,” Natalie said.

The inquest heard that he loved food and was not a fussy eater but had suffered with choking problems from around the age of one.

“His face would change, he would make gasping noises, you could see straight away that he wasn't managing to get it down,” Natalie said.

In an incident in May 2017, James choked on a piece of popcorn chicken and an ambulance had to be called after he turned blue and went unconscious, the inquest heard.

James also suffered from sleep apnea which caused him to wake up hourly.

The family was told by a doctor that James' tonsils were larger than normal and he was on a waiting list to have them removed at hospital in Brighton.

In May, shortly before their holiday, Natalie said she called the hospital to find out about an appointment after hearing nothing back.

“That's when I said to them, if you don't do something for my son, something bad is going happen,” she said.

The inquest continues.