Mum passed out drunk and suffocated baby before sister, 6, tried to revive tot

A mum who caused the death of her baby daughter by passing out while drunk and rolling on top of her in bed two years after losing another baby in a similar incident.

Claire Ross, from Liverpool, was living near the Swiss town of Nyon, where her husband was working, in February 2020 when she gave birth to a baby girl.

One morning in July 2020, Ross drank heavily and after putting the TV on for her eldest daughter, then six, she went to bed with her five-month old. According to Swiss prosecutors, she was so drunk she passed out on the bed with her body on top of the baby's.

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Ross's six-year-old daughter was alerted by sounds of distress from her baby sister, but could not wake her comatose mum, the court heard. The girl managed to free her sister and placed her in a pram, before running to get help from a neighbour.

The neighbour, who was still unable to wake Ross from her drunken stupor, called the emergency services and the baby was rushed to hospital, where she was pronounced dead a short time later. Autopsy reports gave the cause of death as suffocation.

Ross, 39, sobbed in the Nyon's district court as she was tried for negligent homicide this week.

The tragic incident was the second time Ross had lost a baby in similar circumstances, reports the Liverpool Echo. In 2018 she woke up after drinking to find her two-month old baby dead in bed with her.

According to Swiss media reports at the time, prosecutors in Switzerland launched an investigation but it was dropped after a clear cause of death could not be determined, leaving open the possibility the baby died of natural causes such as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

During the hearing, prosecutor Jean-Marie Ruede told the court the death of the five-month-old girl was a "a remake in all respects" of the death of the first baby in 2018. He said psychiatric reports showed Ross "drowns her mental ill-being" with heavy drinking.

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Ross's solicitor, Patrick Sutter, argued due to her mental health problems she should not be held criminally responsible for the death of her baby.

The court heard that psychiatrists had found Ross showed signs of borderline personality disorder and had a "toxic relationship" with alcohol. Mr Sutter told the court Ross had been failed by mental health services and he was "convinced" that if a diagnosis had been made in 2018 the tragedy of 2020 could have been avoided.

Mr Reude for the prosecution also criticised the lack of a referral to social services after the death of the first baby.

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Ross was asked to address the court, telling the judges: "I understood and accepted that I had no control over alcohol."

Speaking in English, she said she had been sober since October 2020, and that "peace" had returned to her family, even if "the reconstruction phase" was not yet over.

The court heard Ross had since become a mother for a fourth time, although the baby was removed from her care and she currently has supervised visits. The eldest girl has since been returned to the family, although the court was told she is being monitored by a child psychologist and is "doing well".

Judges are set to deliver their verdict and any sentence on Tuesday (July 19).


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