Long-awaited inquest into Leeds toddler’s death takes place today

Elliot Kerslake's family: mum  Andrea,  and  dad John,with  children Emily, 14, and Oliver 12.
Elliot Kerslake's family: mum Andrea, and dad John,with children Emily, 14, and Oliver 12.
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The parents of a little boy who died unexpectedly last year are hoping for answers today as his long-awaited inquest is heard.

This morning, Andrea and John Kerslake, of Shadwell, will attend Leeds Coroner’s Court to hear what could killed their little boy, Elliot.

Elliot died ages just two and a half on March 3 and his family have been waiting for a conclusive cause of death ever since.

Andrea Kerslake, Elliot’s Mum said: “The inquest is our opportunity to get some answers. Our healthy, happy little boy went from running around playing in the morning to being put into the back of an ambulance in the afternoon, how and why that happened we still don’t know. Nothing will ever heal our pain, but some answers to the burning questions that go through our minds day in and day out will at least give us some level of understanding as to why Elliot died.”

The long, drawn-out process of trying to find Elliot’s cause of death, and the lack of support and information the family say they have received since they lost their son, led them to set up Elliot’s Footprint. The charity aims to support families who face the devastation of losing a child unexpectedly.

Due to Elliot’s death being sudden and unexpected the family say they did not ‘belong’ to any kind of ring-fenced support and so struggled to find adequate support through the NHS.

Elliot’s Footprint is working towards securing a family bereavement service in West Yorkshire, campaigning for changes to improve a system that doesn’t provide joined-up care for families and issuing information and guidance to help those affected by the loss of a child or sibling.

John Kerslake added: “Our friends, family and colleagues have got us through this, they’ve been there for us at every stage and have been incredible in supporting the ambitions of Elliot’s Footprint. But we can’t help but think of those families who perhaps don’t have these networks around them, where do they turn? The lack of accessible, professional bereavement support has shocked us and we know that people in Leeds really need these services.

“Elliot loved life, he relished every new experience. He gave so much love to us, his brother and sister and all that knew him. It’s comforting to know that his short life will impact positively on others during the months and years to come.”

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