Butlin’s staff slammed for response as two-year-old choked to death

Butlin’s staff just ‘stood around doing nothing’ as two-year-old choked to death with paramedics blocked by gates and bollards, inquest hears

  • James Manning, two, had been staying at Butlin’s in Bognor Regis, West Sussex 
  • The youngster, who was accompanied by his family, died in hospital on June 20  
  • An inquest heard how the path paramedics took had been blocked by bollards
  • His mother, Natalie, told the inquest that there were ‘not any first-aiders’ on site

Butlin’s staff just ‘stood around doing nothing’ as a two-year-old boy choked to death while on holiday with his family, an inquest has heard. 

The tragic incident, which took place at Butlin’s in Bognor Regis, West Sussex, on June 20 last year, also reportedly saw paramedics blocked by gates and bollards. 

Tragic two-year-old James Manning, from Battle, East Sussex, was heard to have previously needed medical attention in the past because he had trouble with choking, the inquest heard.

He was taken to hospital but died on June 20.

The tragic incident took place at Butlin’s in Bognor Regis, West Sussex, on June 20 last year (pictured)

His local GP, the South East Coast Ambulance service, East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust and Butlins were all represented at a pre-inquest review hearing.

The toddler’s mother Natalie was also present as were other members of his family.


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Assistant Coroner Karen Harrold said: ‘Having listened to the 999 call, I am concerned about the handling of that telephone call and whether the paramedics had specific instructions as to how to get in.

‘Given James was two and choking it seems to me that every second counted.

‘I am concerned about the delay in getting cars through the gates.’

She also told the hearing she was concerned that once on site the paramedics were impeded by gates and retractable bollards that were locked into place.

One paramedic ‘made the decision to run’ to the youngster because the ambulance could not get through the bollards, the inquest heard.

Ms Harrold said: ‘There should have been a clear path through. There should not have been any delay at all.’

The assistant coroner  told the hearing she was concerned that once on site (Butlin’s in Bognor Regis is pictured) the paramedics were impeded by gates and retractable bollards that were locked into place

When paramedics arrived they reported seeing that ‘safety staff were standing around doing nothing’, she told the inquest.

His mother Natalie said: ‘I tried my best and literally every member of the public was trying to help.

‘There were not any first aiders on site who helped us.’

The inquest will also look at what happened in the three or four month period between a doctor referring James for an operation and his death. 

Natalie continued: ‘It was me having to get onto doctors and bang on the doors.’

The inquest was adjourned until a full hearing on a date to be set.

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