A YOUNG woman's death was largely due to brain injuries caused by her own mother when she was just a year old, an inquest was told today (Tuesday, January 21).
Severely disabled Faneela Jackson, of Middlesbrough, was 19 when she died following an operation to move a feeding tube in her stomach when she developed breathing problems.
However following a post-mortem pathologist, Dr Nigel Cooper, said; “her old brain injuries were the principle cause of death.”
The inquest heard that Cleveland Police examined the possibility of bringing fresh charges against her biological mother following Faneela's death - but following legal advice decided there was little chance of a conviction on more serious charges.
Deputy coroner, Claire Bailey, was told Faneela’s biological mother had been convicted for child cruelty in the 1990s.
As a result of being shaken Faneela, who was born entirely healthy, was left with brain damage as a result - causing cerebral palsy, sight problems, severe development delay issues, curvature of the spine. She was also a spastic quadriplegic.
She was adopted by the Jackson family of Normanby, Middlesbrough, and was cared for by them for the rest of her life.
The inquest heard that she had to be fed by a tube leading to her stomach, which would leak and cause daily problems. It was decided she would undergo an operation to resite the tube in May, 2012.
The operation was a success but Faneela developed breathing problems afterwards and died following a heart attack in James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough, days later.
In his post-mortem report Dr Cooper said: “The immediate cause (of death) was respiratory failure caused principally by old brain injuries but exacerbated by post-operative respiration problems.”
Deputy Coroner Bailey said she had considered a verdict of unlawful killing but, noting the role the operation had in the death, decided to record a narrative conclusion so she could fully explain the circumstances.
After the inquest Faneela’s adopted mother and father, Diane and Ernie Jackson, explained she had come into their life at just 15 months old.
The toddler had been very tense but learned to relax after her new big sister began playing with her.
“Ernie has a terrible singing voice but it was sometimes the only thing that would calm her down,” smiled Mrs Jackson, recalling how she would also respond to Coronation Street and Eastenders theme tunes, adding, “She had a wicked sense of humour.”
Mr Jackson had commented in the inquest that he was disappointed the police couldn’t bring a fresh prosecution saying, “to me, she hasn’t had justice.”
But afterwards he said the family, including Faneela’s two older adopted sisters, Leanne and Jenna, wanted to remember the joy she had in her life.
Faneela’s older brother, Darren, 29, sent his funeral eulogy to The Northern Echo in which he said: “Faneela’s greatest gifts were those of joy, happiness, laughter and love...she was our Princess Faneela.”