Death of toddler who choked on food at holiday park was accidental, inquest finds

120321-James Manning
James Manning

The death of a two-year-old boy who choked on a piece of sausage at a Butlin’s holiday park in Sussex was accidental, an inquest has found.James Manning had been at the holiday park in Bognor Regis in June 2018 with his mother and grandmother.

They had been eating breakfast in the Ocean Drive restaurant when he got into difficulty.

An inquest into James’s death previously heard that Butlin’s staff did not help when the youngster began choking outside a restaurant at the popular resort, a claim the holiday company does not accept.

Butlins Bognor Regis Credit: PA

The hearing was told how paramedics were forced to abandon their ambulance and dash to the scene on foot after finding the road blocked by closed gates and bollards.James, from Battle, was eventually taken to hospital but died two weeks later, on June 20 2018.The inquest resumed in March 2021 following a lengthy adjournment during the coronavirus pandemic.

James Manning

James' mother and grandmother were emotional in court as the coroner told them that the cheerful toddler, who had enlarged tonsils, had been let down by the NHS but that earlier intervention 'might not have saved his life'.On Friday, assistant coroner Karen Harrold concluded that James’s death was accidental.She said: “The NHS did let James down as an earlier intervention may have reduced the chances of James choking on 6th of June, but I cannot conclude that James’s life would have been saved by an earlier intervention.“This was a fast-moving, distressing incident for everyone involved in the effort to save James’s life.”She added that the gravity of the circumstances meant that earlier intervention from the paramedics could not have saved his life.

James Manning

Turning to his mother and grandmother, Mrs Harrold said the conclusion of accidental death was “in no way intended to trivialise what can only be described as a horrendous occasion that occurred on the 6th of June and I am sure will remain with you for life.“My heart goes out to you.”