Respect for tot's 'life and death'

THE life and death of a young boy who was found mummified in his cot was treated respectfully during a public investigation into his passing, a sheriff said.

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Declan Hainey was found dead in his cot in March 2010
Declan Hainey was found dead in his cot in March 2010

Sheriff Ruth Anderson said the Fatal Accident Inquiry into the death of Declan Hainey - who was found dead in his litter-filled cot in March 2010 - was befitting of the youngster.

His mother Kimberley, 39, was jailed for life in 2012 after being convicted of ­neglecting and murdering him.

But she was released last April on appeal, meaning ­Declan's death became ­unsolved and prompting the Crown Office to call for a Fatal Accident Inquiry.

Sheriff Anderson yesterday told the inquiry at Paisley Sheriff Court: "Declan had such a short little life.

"I hope that anyone observing this inquiry was able to conclude that his life and death were treated with the humility and dignity that he deserved."

The sheriff's comments came after the last closing submissions in the case, which began on May 12, this year.

She also thanked the lawyers involved in the case - saying they had dealt with sensitive evidence about the death of blue-eyed Declan "courteously and expeditiously" - and praised them for the ­atmosphere throughout the lengthy inquiry.

She said: "I am aware that the cordial atmosphere which has prevailed has been of great assistance to each and every one of us, not least to me."

The sheriff thanked everyone involved in the case before leaving the bench to begin work on her final judgment.

In her judgement, which could take as long as eight weeks to be published, she will set out how she believes ­Declan - who had lain dead in his cot for around eight months by the time he was found - passed away.

She is also expected to set out ways that the agencies involved in Declan's short life from the drug workers and ­social workers who dealt with his mother, to the GPs and health visitors who were supposed to make sure he was a healthy child who was growing as expected.

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