Father of four died of Covid at Christmas after ambulance crews went to wrong address

Video report by ITV News Meridian's Tony Green

A father of four from Kent died alone on Christmas Day after ambulance crews sent to save him went to the wrong address.

Steven Cooke, 35, was isolating with Covid-19 when he dialled 111 for help, but the call operator could not understand him when he gave his address.

The crew sent to treat him and take him to hospital went to a block of flats opposite where Mr Cooke lay waiting for help to arrive.

Call handlers believed he lived in flat three in the block of flats rather than house number three directly opposite in Hammond Hill in Chatham.

Mr Cooke died two days before his 36th birthday. An inquest concluded he had died of natural causes.

Credit: Katie Milne

His grieving partner Katie Milne, 34, said: "Steve gave the correct address. Now I've been left to bring up four kids by myself. It's a disgrace what happened."

Mr Cooke, a primary school caretaker, was living apart from his partner and children due to lockdown pressures on the family, but he and Katie were planning to get back together in the New Year.

They had been partners since Katie was 20. Their kids are Alfie, 13, Jack, 11, Lucas, eight and Freddie aged three.

Katie said: "We were still close. He saw the kids every day. We should have all been together on Christmas Day but Steve was diagnosed with what seemed like mild Covid.

"So he had to isolate in his bedsit five minutes away. He felt tired but is seemed nothing more than a cold."

Credit: Katie Milne

Now a senior Kent coroner has written to South East Coast Ambulance Service warning that unless action is taken there is a risk that more people could die waiting for help.A South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) spokesman said: "Our thoughts and condolences are with the family of Mr Cooke and all those who knew him.

"We were already undertaking a review of any responses to wrong addresses to ensure we do everything we can to mitigate against a similar event occurring."

SECAmb has until Tuesday to respond to the coroner and take steps to ensure that such a costly mistake never happens again.