Did tragic mother fear her baby was going to be taken from her? Charity worker found dead with her daughter was ‘referred to social workers three times in weeks leading to birth’
- Charlotte Bevan, from Bristol, was ‘closely monitored’ during pregnancy
- She suffered from depression, schizophrenia and severe sleep deprivation
- New mother also stopped taking her medication so she could breastfeed
- Miss Bevan, 30, carried daughter Zaani Tiana out of hospital on Tuesday
- CCTV footage showed her walking past three nurses at vending machine
- Hospital investigation into why she was allowed to leave maternity ward
- Charity worker was found 1.5 miles away at foot of gorge on Wednesday
The depressed mother who was found dead this week in the Avon Gorge feared her baby daughter would be taken away from her, it has been claimed.
Charlotte Bevan, 30, was closely monitored’ during her pregnancy and had reportedly been referred to social workers on three occasions in the run-up to her baby Zanni Tiana being born.
A source said it caused the new mother – who was believed to be suffering from depression, schizophrenia and severe sleep deprivation when she left the hospital – to develop fears that her newborn child would be taken into care.
Her family believe Miss Bevan had also stopped taking medication so that she could breastfeed when her child arrived.
Charlotte Bevan, 30, who was found dead on Wednesday in the Avon Gorge, had been referred to social services three times and feared her baby would be taken away from her, it has been claimed
The new mother was captured on CCTV looking down at her daughter Zaani Tiana while she walked past at least three staff members who were crowded around a vending machine
The charity walker then walked out of hospital with her newborn baby daughter on Tuesday. She had apparently developed a fear that her child would be taken away from her
Miss Bevan was found dead at the foot of the gorge on Wednesday. Her four-day-old baby was found dead on a cliff face hours later.
A source told the Sun: ‘Charlotte was closely monitored throughout her pregnancy and had three referalls from midwives. But she was clearly distraught by the time she left the hospital.’
Miss Bevan was seen on CCTV walking out of the maternity ward at St Michael’s Hospital, Bristol, holding her four-day-old baby.
The footage shows her walking past at least four nurses without being stopped on Tuesday night.
A walker spotted her slippers and a baby’s blanket on the cliff’s edge close to the Clifton Suspension Bridge and yesterday police found her daughter’s body nearby.
Bristol City Council could not be reached for comment today. But it said earlier that it anticipated the Safeguarding Adults Board and Children Board would launch a serious case review into the case.
People from Bristol and also outside of the city have left flowers at the gorge where the mother and child died – but her friends want to know why she was able to ‘just walk out’ of hospital
Messages from people who knew and loved Charlotte have also been left in close to the Clifton Suspension Bridge
This graphic shows the relative locations of the hospital, Miss Bevan’s home, and the Clifton bridge
The hospital has also launched an investigation. A spokesman admitted that patients in the maternity ward are free to come and go as they please, prompting calls for greater monitoring of new mothers – especially those with a known history of mental illness.
Miss Bevan had walked 1.5miles to the picturesque Avon Gorge, just five minutes away from the home she shared with her partner and Zaani’s father, Pascal Malbrouck, in the upmarket Clifton Village.
Neigbours revealed yesterday how she was planning a party to celebrate Christmas and the birth of her daughter.
Jonathan Hurford, 54, who lived close to their flat in Clifton, Bristol, said: ‘She was always such a bubbly and happy character. That’s why it’s such a shock to us and the other neighbours that this terrible thing should have happened.
Miss Bevan (pictured left with partner Pascal Malbrouck and right in the late stages of her pregnancy) had reportedly stopped taking her medication so she could breastfeed when her baby arrive
Mr Malbrouck, who is originally from French territory Reunion in the Indian Ocean, and Miss Bevan were planning to hold a Christmas party to celebrate the new arrival
The young mother (pictured left and right with Mr Malbrouck) was believed to have been suffering from depression, schizophrenia and severe sleep deprivation when she walked out of the hospital
‘She was actually organising a Christmas event to celebrate Christmas and her baby arriving and we were going to have a drink.
‘She was instigating a community initiative for Christmas which makes it all the more poignant that she’s not around not to enjoy it’.
The new mother had been educated at the elite Wells Cathedral music school near Bristol.
Family and friends said she had first suffered with depression following the sudden death of her father in 2000 from a brain tumour.
Posts on her Facebook profile revealed that she had been ‘hearing voices’ and needed ‘love and support’.
Earlier this week, Miss Bevan’s mother Rachel Fortune, 59, paid tribute to her ‘beautiful daughter and granddaughter’ who are now ‘at peace’.
Police confirmed on Thursday that the body found at the bottom of the Avon Gorge was Miss Bevan
Flowers and messages of condolence have been left close to the spot where the mother and daughter died
The steep gorge, spanned by the Clifton Suspension Bridge, runs for ten miles from the Bristol Channel into Somerset
In a statement, she also thanked ‘all the hospital staff at St Michael’s and the mental healthcare team, past and present’.
Mr Malbrouck, 37, who saw his girlfriend and baby half an hour before they left the hospital, said Miss Bevan had been badly sleep-deprived, but happy.
He said he could not think why she would disappear.
A spokesperson for University Hospitals Bristol Trust said yesterday that it ‘will be conducting a thorough review of the care Charlotte and her baby received to see if there was anything we could have done’ to prevent their ‘tragic and unexplained’ deaths.
They added that pregnant women were screened for new and existing mental health problems and were assessed for increased risk of perinatal mental ill health.
Officers slowly descended into the Avon Gorge searching for the baby while a sniffer dog team worked below
A member of the public found some items believed to Miss Bevan at the top of the gorge and then called the police, who spent the day trying to find the baby
Steep drop: The Avon Gorge runs for ten miles from the sea, through Bristol and into Somerset
Investigation: Police gathered under the Clifton Suspension Bridge in the Avon Gorge on Wednesday night after finding Miss Bevan’s body
Avon and Somerset Police found the body using a helicopter fitted with a search light
‘Women who are identified as potentially being at risk have consultant-led care, involvement of appropriate mental health teams as necessary and involvement of their GP,’ she said.
‘We cannot stop any mother leaving unless there are legal restrictions on her movements’.
The spokesperson added that Ms Bevan was expected to be discharged from the unit a few days after her disappearance and said staff had ‘no indication’ that she planned to leave early.
Yesterday, Bristol City Council said it anticipated Bristol Safeguarding Adults Board and Bristol Safeguarding Children Board would launch a serious case review into the case.
‘This is a truly tragic incident and our deepest sympathies are with all of Charlotte’s family and friends,’ said John Readman, strategic director for people at the council.
Clothing: Miss Bevan was seen walking through the hospital and appeared to be wearing just a pair of leggings and a jumper
Miss Bevan was seen calmly pushing open the door and walks into the lobby with her little girl in her arms
The new mother has no coat and no socks, with just a thin pair of hospital slippers on her feet
After strolling past what looks like a reception desk, she leaves the hospital through two sets of automatic doors and steps onto the street outside
Miss Bevan had been at St Michael’s Hospital in Bristol when she walked out with her young daughter
The hospital said it is launching an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Miss Bevan’s leaving the maternity ward
‘We fully anticipate an independent Serious Case Review, which would look closely at the circumstances of this case and the role of all agencies involved, including health, mental health and social services.
‘Its findings would be published once complete.’
Rachael Dobson of the charity PANDAS – the Pre- and Post-Natal Depression Advice Service – added: ‘All this should have been preventable.
‘It’s a concern that someone has been able to leave the ward unnoticed without having to tell someone where they are going.’
Psychologist Dr Margaret Oates, who runs a unit for mothers with mental health difficulties in London, said Miss Bevan may have been suffering postpartum psychosis – the sudden onset of psychotic symptoms following childbirth.
‘This is much more severe than postnatal depression and requires anyone suffering from it to have a very close eye kept on them,’ she said.
‘Those with mental health problems previously are at far greater risk of developing it.’
- For confidential support call the Samaritans in the UK on 08457 90 90 90, visit a local Samaritans branch or click here for details
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