Unexplained virus to blame for death of tragic Leeds toddler

Elliot Kerslake with his family
Elliot Kerslake with his family
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A tragic toddler went for his routine afternoon nap and never woke up after being struck down by a mysterious brain condition, an inquest heard.

Fit and healthy Elliot Kerslake is thought to have suffered a seizure brought on by an unexplained virus.

Elliot Kerslake was described as a child who lived life at 100mph

Elliot Kerslake was described as a child who lived life at 100mph

Just hours previously the tot, who the coroner said lived his life at “100 miles per hour”, had been performing a dance routine for his sister’s friends and cheering on his big brother Oliver, 12, at a football match.

Parents John and Andrea Kerslake broke down as the inquest into his heartbreaking sudden death on March 3, 2013, heard their written evidence.

Andrea, 45, said Elliot had been put down for his nap at 2pm only for his older sister to scream in panic three hours later when he failed to wake.

The devastated mum said in a statement read out by the coroner: “I read him a Fireman Sam story as I put him down for an afternoon nap at 2pm just after his lunch.

“I told him I loved him and closed the curtains.”

Andrea said she went to do some gardening while husband John watched a football match on TV, when three hours later their daughter Emily, now 14, screamed.

The panicked parents rushed to call an ambulance as they discovered the tot lying “blue and floppy”.

Dad John said in a statement: “I took him into the garden so we would be ready for the ambulance and the operator instructed me to carry out CPR.

“I continued fighting for him shouting ‘come on Elliot, you can do it’, although I started to feel in my mind that he was gone.”

The parents went with little Elliot in the ambulance to Leeds General Infirmary, where he was sadly pronounced dead.

Just hours earlier, Leeds Coroners Court heard how the energetic little boy had been playing in the garden at their home in Shadwell, Leeds.

Dr Richard Newton, specialist in child neurology at Manchester Royal Infirmary, said the cause of Elliot’s death was most likely encephalitis - inflammation of the brain - caused by a virus which triggered a seizure as the tot slept.

Dr Newton said: “This was a well little boy with a cold, essentially. He went down in the afternoon for a nap which is a routine almost every family in Britain bears witness to.”

Dr Newton added there was “nothing that could have saved Elliot”.

Coroner David Hinchliff recorded a verdict of natural causes.

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